“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Even in this short amount of time, 2011 has been so full already. Certainly the highlight will be being a part of The March 2011 Dando Amor group of photographers that just returned from Ecuador. This trip afforded me the luxury of exploring the authentic parts of people’s lives and that is one of the main reasons that I am a photographer. There was something about being in another country with these children that compelled me to be completely honest and natural with my photography like I’ve never experienced before.
Because this trip encompassed so many emotions in such a short period of time, I have really stalled, delayed and even procrastinated putting together this blog post because I wanted to spend some time with my thoughts to decompress, and find the best way to share the many emotions of my experience. It was my hope to share this with you using integrity, conviction and total disregard for the sympathy that I felt for these children before this trip started. But, had I not taken the time to digest all of this, I would have presented you with a group of orphans that I felt sorry for because they were sad, lonely, poor, and didn’t have the many privileges that you and I experience in our everyday lives. It brings me so much joy to be able to share with you a polar opposite experience. These children are happy, loving, bright eyed, hopeful and yes, very poor, but as one of our photographers so eloquently pointed out to all of us, there is no harm in being poor. In fact, experiencing financial hardships builds a shared sense of struggles leading many people to accomplish great things in their lives. The real inability to thrive comes when we aren’t loved, when we are neglected and our worth is snuffed out at a young age. The sympathy that I started this journey with gradually dissipated and I was able to discover a very genuine compassion and love for these children. Being around them for just a short time makes you feel clear, strong, capable and inspired – and in no time, you come to realize the magic that can happen when each of us lives, and gives our genuine best. Isn’t that all any of us can hope for in this life! Well, these children deserve nothing short of this in theirs.
In the short span of 5 days, a fabulous group of photographers banded together in an act of love for these children unlike anything that I have ever experienced. A common commitment to humanity bands people together in tremendous ways while extending a hand to those in need is the greatest act of love. Our trip together was so fulfilling on so many levels that I cannot hope to do it justice here. The best I can hope to do is share a few highlights, which pique your interest in some way. If you are looking for a way to get involved, please visit www.dandoamor.com for additional information.
*** There are many orphanages where images of the children are not allowed to be posted online in an open blog. The safety of the kids is our #1 priority. Please become a friend on facebook to view more images in closed, for friends only, photo albums.