One of my biggest joys was interacting with, playing with and photographing the children on my trip with Hands up for Haiti. They were my biggest fans! They loved having their photo taken and would often ham it up for the camera. Then, they would run at me and insist on seeing their image. When it was time to find a corner to edit, I was often followed by a group to help me cull and edit. While we did not share the same language, they made it very clear which images were their favorite.
So much about these children is just like their American counterparts. But then, you take a close look and realize many of them have seen and experienced more heartache than we will ever see. I believe you can see it in the eyes of some of these little ones. Below, are some of my favorite portraits taken throughout the week. I just love the ones taken on the side of the road (whether on walks or when our van broke down). There were a lot of kids rocking the peace sign. I'd be very curious to know how they learned it.
When we started at the clinic at Open Door, there was a point in the day where the children in the nearby school got their afternoon break. Knowing we were holding clinic, they flocked to us. They became my boss pretty quickly! They'd see me and yell "photo photo!" They'd grab my hand and lead me to their friends for their own private photo shoot. These were, by far, the healthiest and most playful children we saw at clinic.
One thing that struck me as very different from the United States is the patience of these young ones. Many had to wait in crowded waiting areas half a day to see a doctor. They sat patiently, but were happy for the distraction of the camera. I often found myself "working the crowd" when I thought they may be getting bored. I'd go out to the waiting area and snaps shots just to keep them entertained. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more though.
There will be many more stories about these children, their lives and our experiences in the clinics. For now, I wanted the photos to speak for themselves. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to learn more about their amazing lives.