This is my friend, Kartick. He is 12 years old and lives in Dehradun, India. I had the extreme pleasure of spending a couple of days with his family while I was working with a nonprofit organization that he is involved with. I promise to share the images from the nonprofit soon, but, yesterday, I shared my images from India with a group of grade 2/3's and I had a chance to look back on my time with my friends. I found I missed them and I wanted to share some of my images from my time with them.
This is his 'street' essentially. When I first saw it, I admit that I got a bit choked up, but the truth is that I found the community there to be incredible. Everybody helping and looking out for each other...so, that helped me put my first impressions aside. Below are a couple of images of Kartick getting washed up for school. That hose is their only water source. This is the spot(just outside their house)where they bathe, get water for tea, wash dishes, wash clothes...whatever you can imagine needing water for. No sink. Some buckets for when they needed them, but mostly it just ran down the path to the open sewer a few feet away.
The above two images are from Kartick's walk to school with his brother, Adetey. It is only a short distance. One day, we even stopped for temple before school. Below are images of Kartick with his mom and dad. His mom stays home during the day to maintain their lives--cook, wash, clean...their dad has two jobs. He is a janitor at a school and a gardener. This family is very focused on their children's education and send their kids to private school, as well as, after school tutoring which is run by the nonprofit that I worked with.
I so enjoyed my time with them. They laughed all the time(often at my expense I think)...they complained about nothing. They just went about their day and were so happy to welcome me into their home. Constantly offering me something to eat(I did eat the lentil soup and rice...it was awesome...but the vegetables were so spicy that I just couldn't manage them) and showing me anything I wanted to see. The mom even gave me an impromptu 'roti making class'...I have tried to make them at home, but they are not the same. I'll keep trying.
It rained hard one night...it was still raining when I woke up before dawn hoping to go see them in their morning routine. They had lost power and it flooded just outside their little home. I decided to go anyways and see what I could photograph. It was a few hour period that will live in my heart for some time...that much is true...actually being there...realizing that they must have froze the night before and because of that they must have had little sleep, but they were up. Waiting for the power to go back on or the sun to rise enough so that they might have some light in their home...waiting for the day to begin again...and welcoming me there to document it all. That was a pretty powerful moment for me.
The winter is always a time when I start thinking about my work...wondering what will come my way in the year ahead. This winter I am seeing different things than I ever thought possible. And, I'm excited. And, going into classrooms and showing kids what life is like for Kartick in India is just one piece of the puzzle.
Just felt like sharing today...