Monday, February 27, 2012

Aspiring Student, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, November, 2009

After our session this afternoon she sits down in front of her home for a relaxed portrait. She belongs to a school now closed due to lack of funding, and aspires to return to her classes. Humana People to People has been generous enough to support a school in her village all of these years, to speak to her elders regarding her education and to allow me the chance to help reopen the schools at this moment.

The time has come to approach larger circles, including foundations and corporations on this side of the pond with interests in Asia and beyond. We hope to find the funding, perhaps $25,000 for ten schools, and to return this winter in order to document the joy on their faces. A local school has been kind enough to listen to our proposal, and perhaps early next year will include us in their international efforts.

On another level, a good man named Mike has taken it upon himself to approach his clients, his colleagues and his connections regarding this project. He has written letters to local media, to people of influence and means. His kindness has given me even more impetus to move forward, to continue upon this humble path.

On this day, this young girl takes extreme pride in her post as hostess for our small group. She helps bring the milk, the meal to the room behind her for us. She watches in wonder as we have our meal, as my inability to ingest spicy food turns into one empty glass of milk after another. My friends sit on the bench behind her, while I sit on the one unseen to her left.

During our meal one of my friends spills the large container holding the milk. The reactions of everyone involved teach me much about this beautiful part of the world. My friend displays a most genuine sense of mourning, while the host family displays nothing but kindness and smiles in return. Even though such a resource is scarce for any family in this area, they show me what it means to give without asking for anything in return.

Her smile above is the smile she shares with us as we fumble to apologize for the accident.

The work will continue, and my life will always include her.

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Halim Ina Photography