The reality started settling in on Friday when I came to campus to pick up the camera I would be shooting on during the trip. (Canon C100, for those who are curious). I decided to take it home for the weekend to get reacquainted with it. One of the professors who will be leading the trip, Mike Beaudet, showed me our video equipment luggage for the trip. It was exciting to see our tools/weapons of truth all packed up, ready to go. (Fingers crossed it all fits on the plane.)
As I headed to South Station to catch a bus to Upstate New York (protecting the gear with my life from the pouring rain), it all started to sink in.
As someone who is an avid user of flight search engines, booking last-minute tickets to far-off destinations, the fact that I will be living in another country is not what is making me nervous. I have a voracious appetite for these types of adventures. However, what has been difficult for me to prepare for is stepping into a country, home to one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our time.
With my camera by my side, how do I capture and share images of tragedy without being a “merchant of misery”? How do I provide a sense of understanding to those who have left everything behind in search for the most basic human necessities? As I depart from my comfortable, privileged lifestyle, I wonder what it is I can really offer these next five weeks.
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I don’t know what it is about rain, but it was the perfect weekend weather for me to emotionally prepare and collect myself before heading out Monday afternoon. Last night, it was pouring. I opened up my window to hear one of the most beautiful elemental sounds of nature. As I watched the rain cover the Catskill Mountains, I realized soon I would be witnessing rainfall in another country. I’ve traveled to many countries this past 5 years, and one of things I am always most excited to see in a new place is rain — watching it descend on new land.
But with the beauty of rain also comes it’s destruction. Heavy rainfall destroys large numbers of tents in refugee camps. Rain invites disease, attracting flies and rats, causing significant health problems.
I take back my excitement for rain. I close my window and begin to start preparations I can actually control.
So, how many pairs of socks should I pack?