I think I’m still processing my week with The Giving Lens and Empowerment International. I feel it will be almost impossible to sum up the experience in a few blog posts, but I’m going to try my best.
The one week workshop in Granada was exhausting, eye opening, intense, difficult, but above all else, wonderful. The professional photographers that ran the workshop are Jay and Varina Patel. It was their third time coming to Nicaragua with The Giving Lens and it was immediately clear how passionate they are about being here. You could tell instantly how excited the kids they had worked with before were to see them. They are both outstanding photographers. You should definitely check out their work.
The participants making up the team were from all over the US, Canada, and one guy from Australia. The group got along really well and I met so many great people who share a passion for photography. I found this to be a very unique experience that people coming from many walks of life could share.
As I mentioned in my last post, the entire week the participants were working closely with the students side by side. We went to almost all the shoots together. From our first day walking around Granada to our last day having pizza together and wiping away tears while saying goodbye, we were truly a team.
I loved the kids that we worked with. They were funny, intelligent, hardworking, and patient. They often taught us way more than we taught them, about photography and life. They have so much potential and I truly feel they will do great things.
The non profit we worked with, Empowerment International was also great. They do so much for the community and their efforts should not go unnoticed. Their staff was so accommodating and went above and beyond to make sure things ran smoothly. The staff was also full of amazing people we got to know well and had so much fun with. They added so much to the trip.
Not everything was perfect, but that is part of travel. Two of the girls had their money stolen from our first hotel, so after two days there was a lot of scrambling around in order to put us in a new hotel. The girl I met up with in Costa Rica, Justine, and I were left behind the very first day of the trip due to some miscommunication about where and when we were all meeting. There were some other hiccups along the way, but not everything can run perfectly in a trip that requires as much organization and planning as this one did. We all lived through it and made the most of it.
I went into this trip hoping to become a better photographer and have a good time. Those goals were met and surpassed. I learned so much about photography and shot in manual the entire week which was a big step for me. I now understand certain capabilities of my camera that I had no idea about before. In just one week the amount of knowledge I gained is unbelievable. A big thanks to Jay and Varina for all their help. In addition to the photography, I had an amazing time, feel I participated in and was part of a great non profit, met amazing people, and got a better understanding of life and the culture of Granada, Nicaragua. Overall, this trip was very successful and I am thankful for all the great memories it has given me.