Xochimilco Workshop with Isla Urbana

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Today was the first of 2 workshops here in different communities in Mexico City with our partners Isla Urbana!  Late this afternoon, Jennifer White of Isla Urbana and  I headed to a wonderful community high in the hills that flag the edges of DF  San Francisco is a community of needs within the delegacion of Xochimilco.  Isla Urbana are implementing a rainwater harvesting project here to satisfy the needs, and part of the overall process is to also provide cultural experiences within those communities.  This helps to solidify a bond with their clients, and also assists in solidifying the success of their programs.  We are delighted to provide creative experiences through photography.  When I asked the 20 participants ranging in age from 5 years to 72! ( yes there was a delightful 72 year old woman that came to our workshop) who had held a camera before, not one put up their hand.  They were so excited to get the cameras and we couldn’t help but smile.  One small boy who was going to share a camera with his mother had huge tears in his eyes and so of course we gave him his own camera to use!

Today was all about getting to know each other a little and introducing photography and cameras to the group, then we let them take the cameras to the streets for the first time.  Tomorrow we will be focusing on portraits.  I will be posting more as I can, it is a very busy workshop as there is only myself and one assistant with 20 people!!

Many thanks towards all of our tribe of supporters, from all of the individuals who have participated in our funding events, to our corporate partners, Nikon Canada, Fluevog Shoes, Sandisk, and Lowepro.  We couldn’t do it without you!

 

Below:  20 cameras tagged and ready to go out into the world, that would be 20 Nikon Coolpix point and shoot housed in some sweet little Lowepro bags and holding 8gig cards from Sandisk, thank you!

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Take a Deep Breath

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Today is a day to do just that, take a deep breath and receive the moment.  The time Cameras 4 Change has spent here in Mexico has been in a word magic, or as they say here, “magico”.  Much like the beat of the drums of the Aztec Concheros, we have been drawn to the rhythm of many different ways of life here in Mexico.  First with the IRRI/Paz Paz Bus Project (partners include IRRI arms Isla Urbana, Sistema Biobolsa and Proyecto ConcentrArte) In DF, the largest city in North America, with over 30 million people, you can imagine the hustle, but we worked in Quiltepec, high on the south side overlooking the teaming city.  Life here is very different and the community amazed us with their ingenuity, and pride.  This coming Saturday we will finish the project there, culminating in a local exhibit and celebration.

As part of our objective with Cameras 4 Change, we also love to provide key imagery for the organizations we work with.  This trip certainly provided that opportunity.  Two of the partners Isla Urbana and ConcentrArte work in La Cebolleta, a remote Huichol community deep and high in the Sierra Madres.  Working on this project named Hata Tukari (Water is Life in the Huichol language Wirikuta) was an astounding experience, away from wifi via a 15 hour journey.  We also met and worked with Taller Lu’um (Mother Earth in Mayan) is the inception of partners Santiago Cosio Pando and Alan Favero.  The organization works with different indigenous women in Mexico providing a business model for women to sell handmade artisinal goods.  Since “transformation” is one of our tag words, the time spent in this community was exactly that!

I was also able to take a small printer and make photos for some of the community there, it was very exciting to share images of them with them!  Photos are so important to people, so make sure you print some of yours soon!! I can not wait to share some of the images!

Again I want to thank you, all of our supporters both here in Mexico and in Canada (and everywhere else too) for helping us to be here.      mex logos comp                      Our Partners and our supporters!!!  Muchas Gracias!!

Paz Paz Bus Supporters

 

Quiltepec Community C4C Workshop Day 1

Today we worked with 15 different community members in Quiltepec, a full range of boys, girls, men and women came together in a remarkable setting high atop Mexico City.  Silvia one of the communities leaders who helped to arrange logistics in the community also took part, it is wonderful to see all ages take up the cameras and create their own photos.  Today was all about getting to know each other and for the participants to get to know the cameras.  I am always excited to see what the participants photograph, but the look on their faces when they get the cameras in their hands is always incredible, what a gift!!!

Silvia brings us a snack from their gardenPPBWSDay1_0001 PPBWSDay1_0002 PPBWSDay1_0004Working under a tarp overlooking the city

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First shots with the Nikon Coolpix!PPBWSDay1_0024

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The Team: Renata Fenton, Liliana Riva Palacio, Thea Grivakes, Cate CameronPPBWSDay1_0030

The Workshop location in QuiltepecPPBWSDay1_0040

 

Xicalco, DF

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Chicalco, DF

Xicalco, an informal community high up above Mexico City

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San Miguel Xicalco, Tlalpan, 14490 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico

 

This June C4C will be running our next international workshop in collaboration with IRRI’s Paz Paz Bus in Xicalco, an informal community in DF (that’s Mexico City y’all!).  The Paz Paz Bus is a colorful bus that travels to the communities that IRRI has programs running, in this case Isla Urbana and Sistema BioBolsa have been installing rainwater harvesting  and renewable energy systems in this small community through an HCBC grant.  It will be exciting to return to Mexico and work with these organizations as well as Proyecto ConcentrArte to bring cameras and photography into this neighborhood.  I was lucky to visit Xicalco last year with Jennifer White as part of a tour with Isla Urbana to view communities that we could potentially work in.  You don’t have to go far to find people with a lack of access to water, even though Mexico City has an annual rainfall of over 27″.  As always in Mexico, the locals have an abundance of hospitality and we were welcomed to see what it is like living above the city, what an amazing view!  We will be taking cameras provided by NIKON Canada!  Please stay in touch on this website and on our facebook page for updates during mid June!!

Chicalco_CC_2013_11_012a large water cistern on the right side of this home provides water collected from the rooftops, then filtered and used for laundry, cleaning, cooking and bathing.  There is no other water infrastructure for the members of this community. Chicalco_CC_2013_11_018 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_023 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_033 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_055 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_057 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_063 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_022Chicalco_CC_2013_11_016Adios!  Hasta Luego!