Personal Journey in Nicaragua-Pittsburgh Photojournalist

One of the hardest parts of being a photojournalist, is the feeling that I hide behind my camera, and dont interact. Sometimes this is true. For a week in Nicaragua, it wasnt. In the past I have taken tons of photos and been primarily focused on telling the story of Daniel Bain and his wife Jessenia, and the kids that they are working with inside their children’s home.

This year, was different. I barely picked up a camera, I barely took any photos, and while I wish that I had more to show, the experience of leading a team of six people, with my wife Kelly, was worth all the missed photos. The memories of working together, and guiding people through personal growth, and physical labor, was totally worth it.

We started out the week celebrating mothers day with the children from the home. Pizza, games, a pinata. It was chaos. And as the kids ran around, and spent time with their families, seeing the joy that was over flowing, was a pretty awesome experience.

Monday we took the team to La Chureca. La Chureca is the Managua city dump, and until two years  ago, nearly 850 people lived there. Today the families live in houses inside a small community built by the Spanish and Nicaraguan governments. Many people now work in the recycling plant that has been built at the dump, but some families still go out to the dump and forage for anything that may have value. Rubber, plastic, metal, copper. Men and women spend hours digging through garbage to find items of value, and then spend even more time back at home, working to salvage the metal out of tires, the copper out of cables, only to go back out and do it again. It was eye opening to say the least, and the team began to understand more clearly, how our hardest days trying to find work, pale in comparison to what many people around the world do.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we spent time at the childrens home. Tuesday we helped with homework, and Wednesday and Thursday we painted some of the bedrooms.

Friday we traveled around the countryside, and ended the day having lunch and swimming with the kids in a beautiful crater lake, before saying goodbye and leaving Saturday morning.

For me, this trip was about seeing and being a part of the group. No hanging back behind a camera in my own safe world. I played, laughed, chased, splattered pain all over me, led discussions, and spent time making friends, and talking with Kelly in ways we often seem to not have time for.

Till next year Nicaragua, enjoy the photos.


























 

Our home away from home-A Nica paradise

Late last night, I arrived safely in Nicaragua with the NWCC team. Dan and Jessenia Bain met us at the Managua airport.

I had planned this on being a longer introduction, but i wasnt saving often enough, and when I went to publish the post, my internet had kicked out and I lost everything. So here are a few photos since I am heading to breakfast. 

I love Nicaragua in the morning

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Yesterday was our last day in La Chureca. I’m sad to be leaving. While we don’t leave to come home til Saturday the rest of the trip will be spent debriefing, which while totally necessary, puts an end to the trip.

Two more weeks here still wouldn’t be enough, but that’s ok. The answers I have been seeking have been made very clear. This trip brought to light that I am to be using photography for change. To tell the stories of those who dont have a voice.

As exciting as this trip has been, its still not over yet.

Today we head to the Masaya market, and then back to Grenada. I can’t wait. I’m going to try and get outside of the main square and shoot some more photos.

Till I have internet access again, have a great day.

A week in Review: Or just a brief rundown

Wow what a week. We have seen miraculous things, and built amazing friendships. From Migdonio walking (without pain and crutches for the first time in more than a year), to spending time in the beautiful old city of Grenada, to experiencing the magnitude of this earth at the Masaya Volcano yesterday, this week has burned memories deep into my heart.

Group one is heading back to the US today. They will be missed. We grew close and experienced miracles together. But as I start this week with the second group, collage students and young adults from Northway Oakland, I am excited because I know that this trip is still early on in its stages. There is still much to see, people to meet, and stories to hear. I pray that as the days move on, that we grow as friends, but also as brothers and sisters, a body of believers experiencing Gods plan for a country, a city, and a little village built on a dump.

As this week moves forward, I’ll be posting less images, not because I dont want to share them with you, but because I need time to process what is really happening, in order for me to tell the best story possible, I need to be focused on the task at hand; listening to my heart. That being said, the images I post I believe will help you see the things that are happening, help tell a full story.

That being said, I am going to post a number of images now from the past week, and our trip to the volcano yesterday (including one of the dance party on the bus- the girls heard Shakira and bodies started moving).

After we were finished playing with the children from La Chureca we headed to a girls home where some of the students sponsor girls.

As I mentioned earlier, we spent an afternoon in Grenada, and I shot some photos of the beautiful city square, and an amazing church. Grenada used to be the capital, but after years of fighting with Leon, they decided to make Nicaragua the capital to avoid more bloodshed.

On Sunday we headed to Masaya Volcano to see one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. Masaya is an active Volcano and it erupted as recently as last year.