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.


























 

A look back at Uganda: My first time-Documentary Filmmaking

I love Africa. I have traveled there numerous times, and cant wait to go back soon with my wife. Each trip has been incredible, and each trip has helped to shape who I am.

Check this out from 2005. To learn more visit The Uganda Project

 

Be The Change: Uganda from Dan Speicher on Vimeo.

Four Seasons Brewing-Latrobe Pennsylvania’s Newest Brewery

My buddy Christian, and his friend Mark took a chance on their own American Dream, and started a brewery.

Pittsburgh already has a lot of craft breweries, but with the recent resurgence, America is going back to its roots where every town had a local brewer, and kept things local.

Once well known as the home of Rolling Rock Beer, Latrobe has since lost its edge as a brewery town. At Four Seasons Brewing they are attempting to bring that back by producing great local craft beer, while reaching for their own lofty goals.

As a photographer, I love photographing small startups, and enjoy it even more when its started by friends.

Enjoy the photos.








































 

 

 

 

L.A.M.P. changing the city one child at a time

LAMP (Learning Assistance and Mentoring Partnerships) is a collaboration among Pittsburgh Public Schools, Family Guidance and area churches including my church Northway Christian Community to serve high-risk, gang-prone youth from middle and elementary schools.

Over the past year, I have been working with program director Bryan McCabe to help tell the story of specific parts of the program. Over the winter I hung out with kids that are in desperate need of mentors (there is a very long waiting list) as they gathered once a week to hang out with Bryan and his family.

This is a long, tedious, on going project, but I hope you enjoy a look into the chaos that ensues. For a little perspective, imaging 25-50 young kids, with 3-4 adults, eating, screaming, playing video games, and shooting nerf darts for a few hours in a small house in Homewood.