Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dinner in Banganga, Students from the School, Banganga, Rajasthan, India, November 22, 2009

As summer approaches here in the States, students will be looking forward to vacation and rightfully so. At the same time in Rajasthan, girls in the villages of my photography will continue their chores without change, for their schools were closed two years ago in spite of exemplary efforts from Humana People to People India.

At the time of this image, the school was still functional. The woman standing to the right of the frame is the mother of these two young girls, also their teacher in the village school. She watches over them as they prepare our meal. They consider me a part of their family and I consider them in the same manner. They have been with me since the beginning of my work in Rajasthan, and will be with me for as long as I am able to visit them.

In this room they make one of my dinners, with the second of my dinners being made just next door by their aunt. They find it a bit comical and enjoy watching me attempt to finish two meals, one after the other. They must see the sweat on my forehead and my need to drink glass after glass of water. Regardless, or perhaps of such, they continue to feed me in some effort to make sure that my return home is a healthy one.

Every ingredient in their meals comes from the earth around them, and tastes like nothing in my culinary experience with the exception of my Mother's cooking, and that of my family in Lebanon. Their ability to do everything for themselves impresses me continuously, even more so with the girls of these two families. Everything they do seems effortless. Watching them makes me feel quite useless actually, distant from the land that nurtures all of us.

We have received some wonderful news this past week and look forward to the possibility of the reopening of five schools. We are now looking to increase that possibility through our network and hope that the readers of this blog will find inspiration to be a part of this project.

For more of my work, and to contribute your thoughts regarding this project, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography