It’s 6am in Kathmandu, and this is my first day off in 7. The last seven days have been exhausting both physically and emotionally. This project has been tough. The last two days we drove out to Dhading and spoke to kids who bust rocks for a living, and earn pennies in return. Then we hiked up a mountain, part of that hike in darkness, to meet a family that works slate mining. Slept under the stars on the family’s porch, then woke up, ate a granola bar and shot photographs while trying to keep up with the two girls who work as porters and were carrying slate down the mountain wearing sandals. The trail was steep and slick and I barely managed it, and all I could think was that these two girls do this every single day, for next to nothing, so their family can eek out a living. My photographs will help tell their story, and will help other children like them to get educated, but they won’t change the reality or the weight of the rocks the kids carry down that mountain day after day.
The views were breathtaking on the hike, and while I was taking a break and sucking wind I was shooting snapshots, but on the way down, beautiful as it was, it was hard to enjoy it with a heavy heart.
So this is where I transition and become a little unbearable. Folks, in 2 months Christmas will be here. For those that celebrate it as a celebration of faith can I remind you that Jesus was a refugee child who grew to be a man of little means, whose heart was for the poor and the oppressed. For those who celebrate it as a cultural holiday, can I remind you it’s about giving, not getting. We already have so much. If your water didn’t need to be boiled this morning, if you have electricity, if none of your kids are former child soldiers or carry rocks down a mountain for pennies, then you’re blessed.
If you get anything out of this blog that’s worth something, I’m begging you to consider being generous with your money this Christmas. The best “thank you” that you can give me is to donate sacrificially to an organization that works with women and children. The World Vision Canada Christmas Gift Catalogue is out, filled with images I took. I can tell you the children I photographed are not just faces. They’re real kids with real laughter, real dreams, and real needs. Please consider lightening up this Christmas, trimming things back, and putting the money somewhere better.
Thank you. I know you come here for photography, but I also know the people in this community are good people with generous hearts. I don’t stand in this particular pulpit often, but when I do I like to think it makes a difference. There’s just something unconscionably wrong if we sling multiple-thousands of dollars in gear on our shoulders in the same world where children go through rotting piles of garbage just to live, and we do nothing, sacrificially about it.