Sunday was my last day at New Hope and me and Julia gave out a 4×6 photo album to each kid who took photography classes. On the cover was a their portrait and on the inside we put their photos from class and a few photos of them with friends and family from the home. The idea for the album was a very easy decision after I saw how I the kids kept their photos. They kept them stuffed in envelopes packed somewhere where only they know. I found out that Rosmel keeps his photos in an envelope hidden in his bed, while Roberto would keep all his photos in an envelope packed away in his dresser under clothing. Now the kids can keep their memories in an album, safe from dust that would scrap their photos when two rubbed together in the envelope. I saw photo taken only a few days ago ruined due to the dust.
We received all kinds of reactions from the kids when giving them their album. Some kids were very excited, some were extremely thankful for the album and others just smiled shyly. These albums in hindsight are exactly what I set out to do when I planned this trip. I wanted to give the kids a way to show off their photographs that showed their lives and said something about them. And while the original project didn’t happen (which only differed in presentation) these albums filled with pictures they took and pictures of them with family and friends definitely says something about them and provides the kids with memories for years to come.
After handing out the albums they all quickly became busy with packing their new albums with all kinds of past photos from from people who have visited in the past, and their own photos from previous classes. Some kids were even treating their pictures as trading cards (I’ll give you this picture of you if you give me that one of me). It’s interesting to see what photography means to each person. There is one girl who had half her album filled with pictures of just her! And then there was little Luis, you’d think it was Christmas with how excited he was. When Luis would see me after receiving his album, he would yell to me “Hermano Seth! Tengo muchas fotos! (Brother Seth! I have many photos)” I would get a big kick out of that, because to Luis I think he was happier to have more photos than other kids, and thats important when you’re younger than most. He carried his album around all day after packing it with all his photos. I caught him playing on the swing set with it and I had to tell him to put it in his closet because it was starting to collect a bunch of dirt and get scraped up. The little girls were by far the most excited group of kids to receive them. And after everyone filled their albums with pictures, it was time to go around and see what everyone else had in their album. People traded albums back and forth pretty much all day and I was really happy to see the effect such a small simple gift had. I can’t wait for future photo projects.
A big thank you to all those who supported me through this trip. Or I should say A HUGE THANK YOU!!! To those who prayed for me, talked with me, those who helped come up with ideas, financially support me, who read the blog, who pray for the kids, and to those who have sent comments and emails that arrive right when you need them. Thank you.