This set of photos was inspired by a recent flickr upload from one of my favourite photographers, Andy White. I took these photos before I really got into photography back when having a point & shoot just started to become cool. Be sure to click on one of the links above to check out Andy's work. He has some genuinely creative ideas, a unique style of shooting and editing that motivates, and he just started a new 366 project. Outside of the artistic capture of light, Andy may be seen scaling a 12-foot vertical wall.
From the Chris of 2006:
"I was enrolled in the 2006 Global Education Program at Clarence Fulton Secondary School. The program, shaped by two dedicated teachers, involved a two-week humanitarian field study in a developing nation. The destination was chosen to be Nicaragua. This third world country in Central America ranked second on a list of the world’s most poverty stricken nations. Of all my life experiences, I would never have guessed that my adventure near the equator would affect me so intensely.
I had never seen true poverty before. When I had this experience, I was shaken deeply. On the last day of my stay in Nicaragua, I went on a tour of its filthiest, poorest, hottest city. The tour involved a drive through the Managua city dump where one hundred and seventy-six families resided. The setting seemed unreal. Conflicting emotions churned in my head as I stared through the murky glass windows of our bus. I wanted to turn and run away but I could not shift my wide-eyed gaze off the scene surrounding me. As an observer, I was witnessing a scene so strange and so foreign that it frightened my entire being. I watched as a battered garbage truck, not unlike the vehicles that take my garbage away at home, deposited its precious refuse in a stinking mass. It was difficult to distinguish where the people ended and the filth began. Immobilized, I watched, shocked into a deafening silence as hordes of inhabitants swarmed the heap.
Just outside of the dump, there were signs of extreme wealth. This fact was shocking after the poverty I had just seen. I stood outside the bus and watched dumbfounded as a private helicopter alighted from a nearby rooftop. Over the hill was a fourteen million-dollar country club with valet parking and tinted windows. It pained me to see the extreme contrast between the impoverished and affluent regions of Managua.
To languish is to undergo hardship as a result of being deprived of independence, freedom, or attention. It is a steady declination of happiness, becoming less vital, strong, and successful. A suffering ethnicity longed for a life that was constantly being denied. There in Nicaragua it resided, hidden by the corruption of its archaic regime.
The average Nicaraguan lived with such an insignificant fraction of the wealth that I was accustomed to in Canada, that it seemed unnatural for a person to be content. Even in suffering, these incredible individuals made the best of the little that they had and still smiled. Among the subdued suffering in Nicaragua, there were those individuals who seemed to accept the lives that they were given. Barely managing, they carried on through the chaos of fate to provide for their loving families. In the darkest corner of society, these people showed flickers of happiness, and hope for a better life."