Our first assignment of the week was covering a community event in a small village called Porto Salvo. The event was designed to build a sense of community within the village and actively engage its seniors. There were craft lessons, cooking classes, games of dominoes, a giant feast, a band, dancing, African drumming, and of course lots of conversations. There were European and Portuguese families, families from Angola and Cape Verde, from Nepal, some from Brazil and a half dozen Americans. And everyone came and shared a part of their native culture. It was an amazing experience and the kids did such a wonderful photographing everyone from the community. And the singing, dancing and drumming! We could’ve sat to listen and watch all night long.
When we returned, the students put into practice their technical knowledge by downloading all of their images. As the week goes on, we’re going to continue to push them into taking on more of the technical responsibilities that surround photographing an assignment. By the end of the week, they should be fluent in the computer work as well as the cameras.
For our second assignment day, we split into groups. One group went to a learning and activities center where non-working seniors volunteer their time with younger students. I’m not sure it gets any sweeter than this! The second half of their assignment was to go and meet with a local neighborhood dance troupe and photograph their practice sessions in the streets of their neighborhood.
The second group of students went to photograph a community event in a neighborhood called Pindao. Not long ago, this was considered a rough neighborhood, but through the work of their local partners, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) has implemented great community improvement programs and helped unify the community there. The group cleaned and painted set of stairs in front of the local market, with the goal of beautifying their neighborhood while also creating an opportunity for members of the community to work together.
Once we finished photographing the staircase project, our groups went to cover more AKF community projects, including a reading group and an elderly exercise group, a Muay Thai/kickboxing class. Some of our students had been chomping at the bit to photograph some action, and this was just the thing. It was a lot harder than some of the students expected! We chased Muay Thai fighters through the park, we dipped and stretched with the exercisers, and we went on a reading adventure with the young students!
Today, a news crew also came out to follow our students around. They are producing a piece that will air after the graduation, and have decided to follow our group on assignment and in the classroom. They will interview a few of our students, and capture videos of our students at work behind the camera and behind the computer. Click here to see story – it’s mostly in Portuguese but you can get a flavor of our week!
Below is a gallery of our students’ images from their assignments: