June 23, 2009

Family Photos

We delivered the first set of family photos to our neighbors a few days ago. What fun! When Ken snapped these shots, he wasn't exactly able to "pose" the people like we'd normally think of as a family portrait. Despite that we'd put the word out about the project, most of the adults were very skeptical and didn't understand what we were doing or why. Several thought we were doing a project on poverty and would use their photos in textbooks. So once they agreed to allow the pictures (usually a little reluctantly), Ken just started snapping and took what he could get. I really love the natural setting of the photos, though, and think it reflects the actual family life of these beautiful people.

We found some inexpensive frames and were glad to put the best shot of each family inside it for more protection. We just gave them the other ones as loose photos. We realized while handing these out that some of these people didn't know what they looked like. At one group of "houses" in particular, there are maybe five or six families living in rows of what we'd call lean-to's. All ages of women and children came out to see why we were there, and when we showed them the pictures, we pointed out who was who. We were just doing that because we don't speak much Guarani, and pointing is sort of a universal language. But then it hit us that they didn't know who they were if we didn't tell them. As others came up, one would say to the other, "They said this is me, and that looks like you!" Each of them looked at the picture, looked at us like they didn't believe it, and then touched their faces, like they were trying to determine if that was the case or we were pulling a fast one.

One of our favorites is the family where the man is shirtless with his tools. He was quite proud to take the photo, and he insisted on holding his machete and ax for it. The families still didn't get that we were GIVING them the photos until we walked away. I guess that's when the idea of what was happening clicked, and they were all excited to have the pictures. It was great to watch the ladies giggling and pointing to each other and their kids. One lady walked to our house the next day to give us a bag of fruit. :) (Pictures below)


  1. That really was a great idea! To think they have no family photo album to look at through the years in their life. If you do that event again, maybe taking a picture of you and your family to show them, or even a photo album, may show them your intentions and make them feel at ease. I bet they would love to see Miss Caroline as a baby and then the "now" pictures. I have a few of those of Caroline and Camille myself. Priceless!

  2. What a thoughful thing to do! I´m sure they are so proud to have this photo and will display it with pleasure.
    I hope you keep coming up with such original ideas. This will open many doors for you!

  3. How beautiful this is! I love it!


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