Monday, November 26, 2012

Mother of Student, Solar Lantern, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, November 14, 2009

On Saturday, November 14th the above image was made. The sun had almost set and we used the light from the solar lantern in order to enlighten the scene. During this trip we had spoken about making images of their other projects, and Humana People to People India supplied me with a wonderful team to help in doing so.

The local population was very proud of the various projects, from the solar lantern initiative to the farmers' clubs to the ecologically friendly fencing to the biofuel plants being utilized on their farms. In the instance above this woman was performing her daily chores with the assistance of a solar lantern. She was kind enough to ignore three grown men at the doorway while doing so and therefore give the foundation an image of their progress in the village.

With these initiatives the photography has grown, from making individual images to creating images of the family as a whole. The acceptance of this work has humbled me even more so, both from the foundation's perspective and that of the families. To this day I cannot overstate my disbelief that both would allow me to do so, and even welcome it. I hold this dear to me and will continue to do my best to shed light on their works, the least a photographer can and should do.

After this image was made, and a few others, we returned to our home base in complete darkness. This was the new norm because we were documenting the solar lantern projects... and therefore would return after the sun had set. Dinner would be waiting for us on the rooftop of the volunteers quarters, with water in an earthen vessel with a metal plate acting as a cover and a ladle as a glass. The food as always was spicy, and therefore more than a few ladles of water would be needed to quench my thirst.

At one point one of the volunteers made a remark that none of the previous visitors had eaten with them on the rooftop, even less have taken a sip from their water source. Guilt overcame me because I had purchased a water bottle or two during my trip for the sake of convenience. At the same time I appreciated his remarks very much, more so the looks on their faces. While they know that my life is quite different than theirs and resembles nothing like a sacrifice on any level, for this one moment they acknowledged my actions and this made all of the difference in the world.

I admire every single one of the good people working for their comrades under the flag of Humana People to People India. I have seen nothing but pride and dignity on their faces, where from Europe or from Asia. They work together to accomplish a common goal, incessantly and without reservation. They are to me the best humanity has to offer, I salute them with my work.
Halim Ina Photography

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