And so it’s Christmas again
This one is from a different perspective, in a different place, in a different culture, no snow, no cold, no family, no old friends.
This one is seen through the eyes of this project and what it has taught me.
Three months on the road, from the streets of NDG to the shore of the Pacific in Lima to the mountains of Ruka, back to the streets of Lima, and now off to the jungle.
From the reality and selfishness, cruelty of the cities to the beauty and inner peace of the Andes, life goes on for everyone.
Three months on the road,…
many offers were encountered, some fulfilled, others not, many thoughts, many emotions, love, affection, jealousy, vanity, honesty, empathy, many joyful and many sad moments.
As Leonard Cohen says, and I can only confirm :
“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes”
The HOW THEY SEE project, not only has shown me how the children see their world through the viewfinder of a camera, but also how so many others see, could, need, or are willing to see.
Most only see their own belly buttons, sad but also human as much as inhuman.
There is always a flip side to a coin.
Very few give without wanting a piece of something in return.
There is worse, much worse, the ones that judged me and shut their door because i am working for the poor instead of working to become wealthy.
And then there were the ones that gave me their kids bedroom while their kid slept on a sofa bed. Then again these give in silence, with dignity and humility and thank you for giving them the opportunity to help.
And then there are the ones that work for big NGO’s, get paid to throw 5 course meal dinner parties to help the underfed.
I’m sure they do, but at what cost? How much of the funds go back to help??? I showed up in my jeans and running shoes to make a donation, I was offered a table by myself. I looked around. It was disturbing, an exchange of business services in disguise. Yes, the dice are loaded. So I got up and left. I can not sit and eat a five course meal surrounded by people who’s outfits could feed a whole family for a year. while children around the corner are eating potato soup three times a day. I will not contribute a dollar if only 20 cents go to help.
And then, there are the ones that have nothing, that have offered me everything they have, their home, their food, their friendship, the beauty of their world, their culture, its all there in the photographs from Ruka.
Three months on the road,…
Only to confirm that, besides true friends and only a fistful of people, everyone is in it for something.
That even love can come with a price tag.
To find out that as the song says:
“Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose”
Everybody knows, but not the children of Ruka or of Villa Maria, or Puno, or Lima, or Mexico City….
Everybody, but not the 5 year olds that roam the streets for their parents, to sell us that rose, those chocolates and to whom you say “no thanks” and get annoyed because they interrupted your conversation on your 700$ phone while you were drinking your 5$ late.
So, three months on the road to see that although everybody sees and although
“Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black joe’s still pickin’ cotton
For your ribbons and bows ”
Most close their heart, eyes, car windows and pockets from fear of losing a buck or two.
As if life came with a price and a designer tag, as if immortality was at reach.
Three months on the road, 2 missions done, another one on its way, thousands of photos from talented kids full of hope and life.
All i could do for them is empty my own pockets to teach and share what I know, get them to the front page of a national newspaper, an exhibition in a prestigious university and try, keep trying to raise funds and hope in order to build a greenhouse for them to eat fruit vegetables and protein.
As I was asked so many times, why are you doing this, why can’t you just focus on just teaching them photography?
Simple, because photography is life, because if I got paid what I got paid to be an advertising photographer most of my life, why can’t these kids have a normal meal, shoes and clothes for their amazing photographs.
Unfortunately I don’t have the big bucks to throw a big dinner party to raise funds for the kids, if I did, I wouldn’t be writing this article, I would be taking pictures with the kids of their greenhouse being built.
If every visitor of this website would of left a dollar at the door, three communities would have greenhouses and an amazing Christmas.
If Everybody knows that the deal is rotten, and Everybody knows it’s Christmas, Everybody knows they can do a little to help the children eat and get an education so they get off the streets, have a life without having to steal, sell or die.
we can all do a little to make this world more human.
Three months on the road into the project to discover that:
the road to peace, freedom, justice and happiness lies within ourselves
what we end up taking with us is not the sum of what we have accumulated but the sum of what we have offered on our journey.
THANK YOU TO ALL THE FRIENDS THAT HAVE SUPPORTED THE PROJECT, IN MONTREAL, LIMA, CUSCO, MEXICO AND MANY OTHER PLACES.
ON BEHALF OF THE CHILDREN AND MYSELF,
Lima, Peru December 18th, 2012