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Independent Project Winner: Immersion (Above)
Photographer: James Wu, Madagascar
Artist Statement: During a remote village expedition to evaluate and support a newly instated environmental curriculum that she helped develop at Center ValBio, Kelly decided to experience traditional Malagasy hair braiding. Warmly welcomed into the dim mud hut, she sat on a straw mat as a Malagasy woman known for her neat handiwork transformed Kelly’s hair into rows of tight braids. At the campfire that night, the Malagasy education team could not stop talking about Kelly’s hair because they had never met a vazha, the Malagasy word for foreigner, who changed her appearance to respect local cultural norms. They deeply appreciated Kelly’s consideration and later reflected that this event altered their perception of foreign community volunteers.
Group Program Winner: Immersion (Above)
Photographer: Richard Ruiz, Uganda
Artist Statement: Our thank-you celebration during the last weekend. The Duke team and the community partners celebrated the deep friendship built throughout the program.
Independent Project Winner: Gratitude (Above)
Photographer: Riyanka Ganguly, Ethiopia
Artist Statement: When I first went to Gondar, Ethiopia as a young, single woman by myself, I was terrified. But then I met Kalkita and she held my hand as I ventured the streets, somehow making me feel so much more safe and confident now that I knew I had this 7 year old looking out for me and holding my purse. This picture is from my last day as I say goodbye to Kalkita, and as she wipes away my tears and tells me to “stay strong” in Amharic. I am so grateful to her and all my friends in Gondar for reminding me that I can be strong and for helping me prove to myself that my womanhood does not restrict me from following my passions and experiencing new adventures by myself.
Group Program Winner: Gratitude (Above)
Photographer: Connie Hernandez, Turkey
Artist Statement: Erin is hugging our Turkish mother, Halime, to say goodbye. We were thankful for all the work she did for us while we were there. From cooking in the heat during Ramadan to helping us figure out the washing machine, she went above and beyond for us.
Independent Project Winner: Partnership (Above)
Photographer: Elise Pearson, Peru
Artist Statement: During installation of wind turbines it was essential to establish a relationship with the community for insuring proper installation, maintenance and to emphasize the purpose of the project. The engagement of the community children in all activities was the base foundation of a successful summer!
Group Program Winner: Partnership (Above)
Photographer: Justin Ching, South Korea
Artist Statement: A boy that I’ve only seen rowdy and inattentive in class carefully pokes my arm. I turn around, he’s holding up a book and asks me to read it. I ask him instead to read it for me and he tells me with hesitation that he can’t read Korean very well. For a half-Korean child who hasn’t lived in South Korea for very long, I understood he might have felt self- conscious for asking but I felt his enthusiasm to read these Korean folk tales. It takes effort from both parties to create the environment of learning: having understanding of the circumstance of the student and the boy’s, as well as several other students’, desire to learn (and in this case, to be patient with me reading in slow and broken Korean).
Independent Project Winner: Reflection (Above)
Photographer: Nick Steenwyk, Ecuador
Artist Statement: While serving at ROMP in Ecuador, I spent lots of time reflecting on what mobility means to us as humans. On the weekends, my partner (Collin Leonard, pictured) and I did lots of mountain climbing, oftentimes with amputee climbers. It is incredible to realize how much we take for granted our ability to access the world. Climbing through beautiful Ecuadorian landscapes with amputee climbers by our side helped us realize that a lack of mobility is not caused by amputation or injury, but rather by lack of access to appropriate prosthetic care.
Group Program Winner: Reflection (Above)
Photographer: Chloe Warnberg, Lebanon
Artist Statement: The girls in this photo stand on a porch in the mountains overlooking a view of Lebanon at sunset. Many of our reflection dinners focused on divisions and sects in Lebanese culture, but the most amazing reflection came when we were confronted with the beautiful intricacy of the country as a whole. We got so wrapped up in and dedicated to the daily work we had that we valued the moments when we had the opportunity to just step back and reflect.