Yesterday the Cape Town team went to Blikkiesdorp, together with friends Cynthia and Bo who had previously introduced us to Beverley, one ofthe community leaders in Blikkiesdorp. I was supposed to get up at 6.30 to get lunch and snacks for the kids that we’d be giving photography lessons later that day. Poor Sam was waiting for me at Fruit and Veg City, calling me incessantly while I easily slept through the alarm. Thanks to everyone else we still made it into Blikkiesdorp at 10AM, where around 50 children were waiting for us at Beverley’s house.
The houses in Blikkiesdorp are made out of tin, hence the name Blikkiesdorp, organized in straight long rows of similar looking tin containers with each house being numbered like N91. In the previous two weeks there had been posters up around Blikkiesdorp announcing our upcoming photography contest and Beverley had gone door to door to get kids ages 8 – 16 to participate. It was obvious from the start that we’d have too few cameras for all the kids, so we asked siblings to team up, which they were happy to do. We divided the kids into two groups. The youngest kids first, who we taught how to use the disposable camera that we were giving them, how to frame a picture and how to use light in the photos. They were so excited to get started. It was one of the hottest days of 2014 so far, temperatures reaching well above 30′C and all of us were sweating our pants off. It was a good thing we brought large amounts of juice to hand to the kids. During the workshop, we showed the kids some of the pictures of the previous SPC in Mumbai, explaining how the sales of those pictures had paid for the cameras they were being given that day, and how their pictures will do the same for kids living in similar circumstances elsewhere in the world. Once the kids had all their questions answered and after we had taken short interviews with them, we gave them a hotdog and got the older group in. Teaching the older group went much faster. There were less questions, many of them had used a camera before, at least on a phone, but also the enthusiasm was a bit lower with this group which I hopefully attributed to general adolescent indifference.
The little interviews we took with the kids were interesting. They spoke about their dreams and hopes for later, which ranged from becoming a doctor to ‘getting out of here’. Next time we see them we’ll select a few kids to tell us a bit more in depth about their lives, stories which we will hopefully be able to publish one day in a book along with the pictures.
We left around 3PM, satisfied with how the day had passed. Most of the participants had been smiles all day. Beverley told us that this wasn’t always like that, as only 4 or 5 of the 50 kids came from stable families, the other families had problems ranging from neglect to severe abuse. She was happy to see them passionate about learning a new skill, eager to take pictures. Two of the kids returned the full camera already within the hour. I’m definitely having those developed tomorrow, will share the results with you shortly!
This coming week, I’ll be moving to the Waterkant, take a trip to Joburg and prepare the Pecha Kucha presentation that I will be giving on March 4th. Will keep you posted.
(All images copyright of Bo Polak)
We still need you!
Please contribute to the SPC by donating an amount of choice, purchasing a picture or donating your old camera. With your help, the kids will be able to improve their photography skills with a second film roll.