Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Esteli 2.5 hours north of Managua

Looking forward to a more sane day of work, with only two locations to work with that are close together. Time enough to really work the situations.
Yesterday was a little nuts with a drive up to Esteli, and then ffurther into the field with a prgram agronomist who lled us to three stops, two in really, really bad light. Although my translator and CRS fellow who organized this a couple weeks ago, asked for location visits where we could shoot action, it was a little like the telephone game where the agronomist had only been told to "take them where there are plants".
The end result was moving from field to field trying to find people working with the crops that have been improved through the ACORDAR program we are photographing. Communication crossing cultural lines to get the needed images is as challlenging as getting to the actual locations when the light is still good.
With bad light, half the energy is spent directing one and sometimes two people with off-camera flash (gotta love Nikon's infrared flash remote) to fill in the shadows so that the high overhead light looked a little less awful. A day of excercising a lot of patience. Will try to post a fiew images tonight...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Managua, Spanish respite

After a long series of three flights from rural Brazil to Nicaragua, the taxi ride from the airport on a sultry evening, passed with a feeling of relief as I spoke labored but passable Spanish with the driver about politics (they have a elections coming up for mayors and such) and security of Managua and Nicaragua as a whole, always a subject to be discussed with locals rather than the briefing page on the State Department website).
Safest in central America, by the way.
After a week of trying to extrapolate meaning from Portuguese conversations, translation fatigue had set in. When I am working in northern Mexico, I have the same experience with my Spanish, and yet to my surprise, now, Spanish was a welcome respite. I could communicate without help! In the last place I spent some nights in Brazil, I could barely communicate with tte desk clerk and ha to take a translator to cover important stuff like checkout.
After a day of R&R, I will travel with a CRS staffer to Esteli in the north. The week will mostly be spent looking at projects that are designed to improve farming techniques and stabilize the farmers' access to the markets, both national and international. This, of course, will allow them to establish a sustainable income to improve their living standards.
When you wonder what can be done about poverty, well, this is one of those things.
I hope to have a moment to post some pix soon, so please stay tuned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

From Feira de Santana

It's already been a full week and I am heading off to Nicaragua tomorrow. A hectic shooting and traveling schedule visiting some interesting projects funded by CRS and others through local partners here in Brazil. The first part dealt with an HIV/AIDS project in Porto Alegre providing some services, counseling and education to help people deal with their disease.

In the north in the area surrounding Feira the projects deal with the erratic supply of water int eh northern part of Bahia state. They have contructed cisterns fed by the roofs on their homes as well as other methods to collect and store water for the dry seasons. The project also involves teaching better agricultural practices such as diversifying what they grow so that they avoid exhausting their soil. IT has had the effect of allowing folks to grow enough to sell to improve their quality of life. More to share but 3:30 comes pretty soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On the Road again.

D'Elia Photographic is on the road again, heading south on Sept 20, to Brazil, photographing some projects for Catholic Relief Services. With 190 million people, it is the 5th largest country in the world with a mix of cultures from all over the world. Everyone has settled there at one point in their history. This being my first run to South America, I'm looking forward to what I expect will be a totally different culture from previous experiences.
After a week, I'll break camp and move onto Nicaragua for more documentary of CRS' projects in another country that is working to put those years of civil war and violent overthrow behind them.
Stay tuned.