FINALE + FOOTNOTES

KidsWithCamerasToday marks one week since returning to life sans chicken buses, one hundred degree temperatures, four dollar coffees, regular routines, drinkable tap, toilet paper that goes into the toilet,  and your regular assortment of first world problems (like not yet having internet at the house you just moved into). One month working with these kids was simply not enough, but I’ll take what I had, and feel compelled to pay forward my gratitude to everyone that helped me make the project a success. Success is an arbitrary term in this instance. To be quite blunt, most of the photos are quite less than astonishing. I’m still going through the negatives (the kids kept all their prints), and there are some gems, but most are rather mundane snapshots of the children with their friends. No artistic virtuosos were discovered in the short span of a month, and no gallery is going to beg me to show the more prominent images, which I do plan to compile and show on this blog in short time. That said, there is not an ounce of disappointment in how things proceeded. The kids had an AMAZING time with the project – most had never used a camera other than the cheap cell phone cameras (which  only a few of the oldest boys possessed), and all were ecstatic when they got their prints back.  The cameras quickly became a bargaining chip to get the kids to pay attention during the English classes we were teaching, and all the younger children who weren’t part of the project incessantly whimpered and begged me to include them in the camera class (wasn’t easy to say ‘Tal vez cuando tenga mas edád’). Since there were four extra cameras in the end, the last week was a photo contest in which the person with the ‘best’ photo won the remaining cameras. That turned into a tough-to-decide four way draw, with two girls and two boys each getting a camera, respectively. After all the cameras and prints had been doled out, I found that I still had some additional funds, so on my last day with the kids I arranged two shuttles to pick them up from the school and bring them to Antigua, where we visited the art galleries within the Spanish embassy. This was particularly special, as many of the kids had never been to Antigua, despite living only about 30 miles away. After we left the galleries (where we were given a spontaneous private tour by a very friendly woman there!) we gorged ourselves on ice cream and banana bread, the kids descended on a coffee dispenser in a nearby building, and we all said our goodbyes. Please feel free to watch the video below, which includes our ‘field trip’ to Antigua. In finale, thanks again to everyone that donated, thanks to Ricardo Armas who created the program, and thanks to the kids for making this guy feel like a million bucks.

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PURO DIVERTIDO

OscarChinoSulmaHillRaceGirlsonHillGirlsMatchBalltoFaceGolasimoStaringLadderBoysBoysChampionsCamerasMore photos of the kids at Proyecto Genesis, circa de Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Today they get their last set of photos back, and we’ll decide the winner of what has become a photo ‘contest’. 3 days til I head back to the states, and back to reality. Mixed feelings are in abundance.

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GHOST DOGS

RoofDogSanPedro OneEyedDog 16 15 14 1307 06 05 04 03 2Dogs 0212 11 10 09 0801Photos of street dogs in Antigua, Chimaltenango, Panajachel, San Pedro de la Laguna, and elsewhere in Guatemala.

 

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BIENVENIDOS A PROYECTO GENESIS

BienvenidosClassroomRicardo&GenesisYeison1EduardoSulmaRosita'sMariposaMisaelMisaelDavidElmerPaperPlaneDani2MakingMariposasBoyWithHuskyDogChicoBebidasDeVitaminasDrinkingDosChicasDibujosChicaMirandoDibujosBackoftheTruckWelcome to Proyecto Genesis. It was started by Ricardo Armas, a local from Antigua (pictured with his daughter above), who ferries us volunteers every day in the back of a pickup that belongs to his father in law. As I’ve been told, the idea for the project came about after his wife inherited a piece of land in a small village outside of Chimaltenango. After visiting the area, he was affected by the amount of children who weren’t attending school, and despite having very little financial means to do so, he decided to start an ‘after school project’; a title which is somewhat misrepresentative, as only about half of the kids attend school. In its initial stages, only about five kids were attending – now, about forty to fifty attend on a daily basis, ranging from about 5 to 16  years old. The kids are taught English, basic computer skills, and are given various exercises in arts & crafts (and photography, at present!), as well as a daily dose of a vitamin infused beverage.

Regarding my photography project – it’s going very well. The kids are super psyched on the cameras, and are about to receive their second set of prints back. More on that to come.

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LAKE ATITLAN

AlaPlayaAtitlan_PanoLaundryBasket LakeSwim Erin&Jess LakeBoats Dock SanPedro2JesusEsElSenorSunrise2SunriseVolcanSunrisenSunrisenVolcanMistyMtnSanPedro3

Not much needs to be said about this place. There’s a reason people flock to Lake Atitlán from all over the world. The place is simply ethereal. The highlight of the trip was waking up at 3:30AM to hike up to a mountain peak (Nariz de Indio) to watch the sunrise over the lake. Being incessantly asked if you want to buy drugs while walking through the villages is a bit annoying, but you get used to it – even to the point that you may find yourself being a little offended when a whole day passes and no one asks.

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GUATEMIDOINGHERE.

Volcan Hillside Commute2 Commute1 PickupTruck Classroom3Chicas Chico_soccerball Popsicle Oscar_SoccerPitch Chicos_GroupShotGenesis_Hilltop

Greetings from Antigua, Guatemala. I found myself here after seizing the opportunity to work in an after school program outside of town. While we’re mostly teaching English, I’m also teaching a basic photography class (in Spanish) to a small group of the kids, which I’ve been able to do thanks to the generous donations from friends, family, and strangers. Monday through Friday, we ride in the back of a pickup truck for about 45 minutes from Antigua, past Chimaltenango, to a tiny pueblo in the foothills. There’s not much around other than a minimum security prison which apparently houses thieves and such. If it rains, we get wet. It’s the rainy season right now. The school house is a tiny casita which belongs to a very generous woman from the community. The kids are fantastic – more on them later. Tomorrow they get their first set of photos back, which is very exciting. Forgive me for the brevity – I have to run to eat dinner with my host family!

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Wine & Wind

Bike ride from Budapest to Etyek in early March, graciously hosted by our friends Bea & Agnes. First real sunny day we’d had since winter’s passing. First real bike ride we’d had since our trip through the Northwestern states, and probably windier than any day we’d had on the aforementioned trip. Needless to say, my ass could hardly keep up with these ladies. Etyek has evidently been a producer of white wines since the 18th century, and is apparently known best for its sparkling wines. Regardless, near the end of our ride we all opted for beer instead.

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