In college when I found out I was going to take part in an alternative spring break, because of a program I was in, I asked for a camera for Christmas from my family. I wanted something to document my first trip abroad by myself. Prior to this I never owned a camera, but merely borrowed the familys older point and shoot camera that we had lieing around.
So when I got a camera in christmas, I was estatic with what I got. It was a camera that was alot better then a point and shoot, but no where near close to a DSLR level.
I wouldn’t get that for another year.
The trip was very impactful to say the least. I was spending a whole week in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Not a popular spring break location, but it was a quaint city.
My program wasn’t there to just have fun, although we did. We were there to voulanteer our time at multiple orphanages, shelters, or afterschool programs. It all just depended on where we were placed, we didn’t have a say to what city site we would be thrown into though.
I was placed into a womans refuge, that actually didn’t hold any older women, which was a slight relief. Instead it held about 20 teenage girls with varying degrees of depression, abuse, or poverty.
To say I was impacted by those young ladies would be a huge understatment. The whole trip was huguely impactful on everyone who took part. Yet the biggest impacts happned to me just as much outside of the Womens Refuge as much as it did inside.
It was during one of our nights out with a group of friends in the citys square that the above image happned. It was a good night, and we were having a blast coming out from a dinner and some drinks when I got a case of the munchies. I’m Hispanic, and since I had been living on campus with a small hispanic community, it lead to feeling a little home sick for some authentic mexican food and snacks. So being in Mexico, I was going to take full advantage of my situtiation.
The city square there is full of life and so much is going on. From people dancing in the center, live music, couples walking around, vendors selling fruit, to custom art, You name it, it was going on in the city square. Its so packed and full you sometimes gotta make sure you don’t step on or run into any kids running around the crowds.
When I spied a elote stand (corn on the cob stand) I rushed over with my group in tow. When I arrived to it was a little dismayed to see that there wasn’t a person near to attend to me. I scanned the immediate area and there wasn’t any adults that seemed to own the cart. Nothing but just a bunch of little kids at around the age of 5-10 playing around the open area with some toy planes. It was from this little group of that one of them broke up and came running behind the cart and had to stand on a stack of old milk crates to ask, ” Quieren un elote?”, (Do you want a corn?). I was a little taken back, I didn’t expect for someone so young to be manning the cart, and then not just by himself but with someone who clung to him like a younger brother.
I muttred my order in a slight daze and without skipping a beat he went right to work, and asked my group in tow if they wanted anything as well. I asked to take his photo and he had no issue, he was to engrossed in his task he didn’t take notice of me really.
In this moment I had the reality of how fortunate I was slamed onto me. Even though I was working at the womens refugee it was easy to detach my time with the girls from my regular day. They were in a huge compuond surronded by massive walls that hid them from the view of the city, yet held one of the most beautiful gardens and small chapels I’ve had ever seen in my life. It seemed like two diffrent worlds seperated by a huge steel door, and easy to somehow seperate yourself. But when I saw how this little boy was just a second ago playing like any other kid, to then taking control of a stand that much bigger then him it really struck me. The misforutune was not just behind those walls, it was everywhere, and I was spared from it.
This wasn’t the only time it happned on the trip, there were many more instances and stories of where how our entire group relized how truly fortunate we were.
I just happpned to capture mine on camera. Which became the start to a whole new carraer path, and the growth of a new passion with my camera.