Photo Location: Kinondo, South Coast, Kenya
Description: My internship was in a tiny village along the coast of the Indian Ocean in Kenya. A few years ago, the village decided to create a bank for the specific purpose of microloans and community development. The bank is run by the village's Council of Elders and holds an annual shareholder meeting, where bank members decide what to do with the profits. This photo is as the bank's shareholders vote not to take a dividend, but to invest the profits in a well for a neighboring village. Water is life and opportunity.
Photo Location: Near Jinja, Uganda
Description: We worked with a village about 40 miles out of Jinja, Uganda. On our trips out, we would stop at this primary school and interact with the children. They loved having their picture taken, and would crowd around us to get in the photos. Later, when we let them look at their pictures, they would react quite comically, shouting and laughing until they couldn't breathe. It's likely that many of them had never seen their own picture before this, and they were both amazed and amused to see their face on a screen.
Photo Location: Ile de la Cité, Paris, France
Description: One Sunday I went to visit Notre Dame and was faced with a long line. It was the first warm day in a long time, so many people were out and about. As I waited in line, I watched an older gentlemen place bread in his hands and on his shoulders to attract large flocks of pigeons. Many children that looked on with excitement, smiling and pointing at the man. When he saw their interest, the gentleman beckoned these two boys forward, propped them up on a ledge, and put bread crumbs in their hands. He told their parents to have a camera ready and stepped back. We all watched in amazement as the pigeons and other birds flocked to the boys, dressed up in their school uniforms, and ate bread off of their shoulders, berets, and from their hands. As the boys smiled giddily and shrieked with delight, everyone in line smiled and remembered the simple joys of their own childhood.
Photo Location: Esaase, Ghana
Description: Though the entire duration of my stay in Ghana was amazing, my favorite thing above all else was spending time with the kids. The appreciation the Ghanaian children had for simple things such as getting their pictures taken was so refreshing. I would attempt to take a picture of one or two children and would end up with a crowd. This photo is of four boys from the fifth grade class that I taught. Every day my teaching partner and I would teach for four hours with a brief break in the middle in which the kids would go to the schoolyard to hang out and buy snacks. This was my favorite time to take pictures because it helped me get to know a lot of the kids. This particular photo is from a day when I showed the kids how to take a successful “jumping picture.” Though I have many photos of many kids jumping, this was my favorite because the boys jumped with their arms around one another and are exuding a happiness that I encountered every day in Ghana.
Photo Location: Switzerland
Description: We visited many dairy farms during our trip in Switzerland. This farm in particular was unplanned but I was so thankful that we stopped. The farm was surrounded by beautiful scenery and the picture was taken in the pasture where the cows were out grazing. This is a site that the family gets to view everyday. We were able to walk out in the pasture with the cows and enjoy the scenery while interacting with the animals. The beautiful cows and the beautiful mountains are a part of the daily work scenery and I feel this photo fully captures the beauty of dairy farming and Switzerland!
Photo Location: Makumira Village, Tanzania
Description: I took this photo in the yard of my home here in Tanzania. My host father had brought home the chickens for dinner. The child in the photo is my host brother, Victor. This part of the yard is used for many purposes: cooking, washing, storing wood and water, hanging clothes, etc. You can see traces of all of those activities in the photo. I feel that this photo is the epitome of 'A Day in the Life' here in Tanzania.
Photo Location: Rome, Italy
Description: On our first day in Rome during a tour through the city, we stumbled across the Jewish Ghetto. As our professor spoke, all of the students stood in awe, captivated by the silent beauty of the scene. Since then, I've made it routine to walk through it on the way to my internship each morning. The neighborhood embodies a calming ambiance, since it's rarely visited by anyone other than residents or those in search of great traditional cuisine. Although much of the area has been torn down, the Jewish Ghetto still exemplifies a full body of character and charm.
Photo Location: Gagardi, Rajasthan
Description: My friend and I stayed in a small desert village called Gagardi. Every morning we would gather at our host families small house to get ready for the day. All activities took place outside: bathing, cooking, eating, playing, conversing, working, napping. In this photo, our host mom is rubbing down her little son, Jeetu. He gets a bath every day, sometimes multiple times a day even though water is scarce because he is always up to no good. The man in the photo works at the NGO center and is one of the only men who helped with food preparations. He was sweet and funny and always had time for a good joke even though he barely spoke English and we barely spoke Hindi.
Photo Location: Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
Description: In India, it seems like there is always a festival. A couple friends and I were walking home and noticed a group of women chanting and dancing to music, so we lingered a moment to watch. Almost immediately bananas and chai were stuffed into our hands and I snapped this photo as the women were beckoning and pulling us into the heart of it all. They made room for us to sit front and center, tucked between a group of curious children and some plump Indian mothers who doted on us as if we were their own. The women began to pull on us again until we got up and danced, and just like that, we were the main attraction at a Hindu festival. Afterward, we were brought to meet the patriarch of the family and were treated to a communal feast as the mothers looked on to ensure we were properly stuffed. It was beautiful to experience such generosity and friendliness from complete strangers, and I think this photo perfectly captures the profound hospitality I experienced every day in India.
Photo Location: Island of Tarawa, Kiribiti
Description: On our first full day in Kiribati, we needed to conduct research on the north island. The faster way to travel was to take the ferry, which consisted of a flat top, covered boat where the passengers sat on top for the voyage. We all crammed on top, along with dozens of other travelers, and started (somewhat skeptically) to cross the lagoon. The water was crystal clear turquoise and merged with the endless blue skies. A few of us were able to graze our feet in the water during the ride and spot sting rays, fish and other sea life. After a somewhat uncomfortable but amazing 1 1/2 hour ride, we arrived in North Tarawa. We disembarked by hopping off the boat into the clear sandy beach water. This trip was the most spectacular welcoming to Kiribati life.
Photo Location: Thailand
Description: After several weeks of exposure to poverty, oppression, and injustice in Thailand, I was ready for a chance to reflect on what I had experienced and what it would mean for me going forward. This opportunity for solace and reflection was found while staying in a bamboo bungalow on Railay Beach in Southern Thailand. I woke up to this scene every morning, appreciating the grandeur of the rock formations, the rhythmic presence of the waves, and the pristine nature of the white sand beaches. The boat featured is commonly referred to as a ‘long-tail’ by locals – referencing the extended drive shaft and propeller at the stern. Although Railay itself is a peninsula connected to the mainland, the dramatic limestone formations have prevented the development of all land-based access. As such, everyone and everything that comes to this magical sanctuary makes its way via long-tail boat.
Photo Location: Rome, Italy
Description: The winter break before I took off for my semester in Morocco, I was lucky enough to be able to fit in a trip euro-railing around France, Italy and Ireland to kick-off my study abroad adventures. And out of all of my travels, spending New Years Eve at the Roman Colosseum was one of my favorite experiences of the spring. Seeing the amazing monument light up with fireworks, surrounded by thousands of people celebrating from all over the world was incredible. A totally surreal night, I'm glad I have photos to remember the most wonderful new years of my life!
Photo Location: Al-Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt
Description: Everybody sees the pyramids as an icon of Egypt and the ancient world. What everybody doesn't see is the modern world intertwining with the ancient. As the African sun began to set the call to prayer reverberated from minarets across the city. People slowly began to stop what they were doing as the evening set in, some to turn on their TV's before dinner, others to sit on rooftops and balconies to enjoy the evening breeze. Modern Cairo with its rooftop satellites and soaring buildings is in the midst of the age old pyramids and minarets. The mix of old and new reflects a culture proud of their heritage, yet ready to blaze a path for a new future.
Photo Location: Pushkar, Rajasthan, India
Description: Every November, the sacred Hindu town of Pushkar hosts the globally famous, Pushkar Camel Fair. It attracts nearly 300,000 people and 20,000 camels, cattle, and horses from all over Rajasthan. I had the opportunity to take part in the celebration. This grinning gentleman stands in front of a mountain-top temple as a competitor in the Mustache Competition at the Pushkar Camel Fair.The crowd was packed, but we were able to shuffle our way up near the front. One-by-one the contestants showed off their 'stache to the crowd. There were many competitors with longer mustaches, but this man's energy captured us all. He embodies the enthusiasm, tradition, colorfulness, and spectacular that is Rajasthan.
Photo Location: Venice, Italy
Description: At the end of my stay in Norway my sister came to join me in Oslo and from there we flew to Italy for a few days of travel before coming home. Our first two days in Venice were wonderful, but misty and cold. Finally on the last day the sun broke through and we traded grey fog for sunlight and brilliant color. I managed to quickly snap a picture of this gondolier as we crossed a small bridge over the alleyway on our last walk through the city.
Photo Location: Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Description: This photograph was taken at the Tashilhunpo Monsatery in Shigatse, the second largest city located in the western-most part of Tibet. After an hour of wandering through the winding, narrow pathways of the extensive monastery, my friends and I suddenly happened upon a balcony wihich bordered a huge plaza. Large temples with steep staircases surrounded the plaza, and in the center there stood a three-story pole draped in colored prayer flags of blue, green, yellow, red, and white. In the middle of the plaza, and along the surrounding balconies, were Tibetan monks of various ages dressed in bright yellow robes and hats. As it turned out, these young monks were dressed in ceremonial robes and were preparing to engage in prayerful examinations on their knowledge of Buddhist sutras. This photo is a glimpse of their playful camaraderie.
Photo Location: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Description: During my time abroad I went on many trips. My favorite of those was this one to Croatia. I have never seen such beauty until then; it gave me a real appreciation for nature and a desire to explore. Like my study abroad experience, the walk through Croatia’s largest national park had many twists and turns. This picture best exemplifies my adventures both during the semester and through my walk in the wilderness.
Photo Location: Phu Chee Fah Mountain, near Chiang Rai, Thailand
Description: One of the main tourist attractions for those visiting the Chiang Rai area of northern Thailand is Phu Chee Fah, a mountain rising nearly 5000 feet. I climbed up the steep, rocky path before dawn to see the sunrise break over a sea of mist, with forests and lower mountaintops shrouded in fog. After the sun had risen, I turned to walk down and saw this young Hmong boy playing the traditional bamboo reed instrument called the qeej for tourists. I grabbed my camera, took one shot as I walked past, and continued down the mountain. Only later did I realize that this was the best photo of the hundreds I took during the trip.
Photo Location: Dingle, Ireland
Description: Dingle, Ireland. The most magical, kind, green place a lass could choose to wander. This photo was taken at the start of our long stroll along the shores of Dingle Bay where one can, on any given day, see hundreds of sheep, Fungie the dolphin and his many admirers, fishing boats, and -let's not forget- miles upon miles of blue and green. On the right side of this photo is my friend and travel buddy, Becca. Our day began in our favorite cafe/music shop where our new friend/barista/bartender, Dara, gave Becca the hat she is wearing in this photo. He also told us that the perfect way to spend a sunny day in Dingle, was a walk along Dingle Bay. This photo will forever guard a day of memories, many a whistled and harmonized Irish tune and hours of Irish sunshine absorbed in the presence of strangers and friends alike.
Photo Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Description: Iceland is an island of water, mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, and long summer days. Just south of the Arctic Circle, the sun only sets for about three hours around Midsummer. Iceland was foreseted when Vikings settled the island in the ninth century, but limited natural resources and centuries of harsh conditions resulted in a shortage of trees and severe soil erosion. Now, however, lupines are being planted all over Iceland; the long roots of these beautiful blue flowers hold the soil in place so that trees can grow on the island again.