With the honest believe that a picture is worth 1000 words, one of my roles throughout our team`s trip to Nepal was to record in images the impact Project Nepal provokes in rural communities. Although exercising this role seemed very easy to me while I was still landing in Japan, my mind quickly changed as soon as I reached Tanahun district where we plan to reconstruct Kihyun Primary School affected by the 2015 earthquake.
My ability to click the button of my camera was blocked by looking at the damaged walls of Kihyun primary school and the instability of the paths that connect the school with the rest of the community. Even though we asked the community to take the pictures and they gave us their consent, I felt no-one to capture their stories with my foreign perspective. While I was looking around, through the camera`s lens, a debate was taking place in my head. A debate that brought memories from my classes in UWC ISAK. I especially remembered history class and how, as historians, I would always prefer to have a picture as visual record to illustrate our past. A photo makes us less dependent on our memory and personal description of individuals. However, at the same time, film class also came to my mind making me aware of the fact photos do not portray reality but an illusion of reality that comes from the photographer point of view. Taking that in consideration, the last thing I wanted was not to honor properly with my frames and with my overseas point of view the reality of children that happily receive us and their mothers who welcomed us with their testimonies.
I then took the decision of changing my photographic plans. I decided to focus on recording other stories that day, in those that i felt the right to tell. My focus was now on the reaction of the members of Project Nepal, in their interaction with the local people. The discovery was that each member showed in their expression pure human solidarity, closely resonating with the problems of the local community. Soon, as I still observe through my camera, there were no foreign and locals anymore, there were just people smiling.
I must accept that, due to the change of plans, I lost the stories, that I had imagined I would tell with my photos. But I gained plenty of others; the ones within the faces of Mayu, Neo, Cristina, Suman, Tony, Ira and Conan, members of Project Nepal being humans.