From NDG, Montreal, Canada to Ruka, Cusco, Peru
Seven months ago, started the belief and dream that children could express the vision of their “world” through the story telling force of photography.
It was -20 degrees, the frost on the windows was dancing to the rhythm of the early night lights. I sat at Shaika Cafe, 10 to 12 hours a day working on my own photographs and the dream to help poor children by sharing my magical journey as a photographer, giving them the opportunity to work, voice and improve their life conditions through creative expression.
Crazy I thought, ambitious some said, impossible others told, with what money many questioned. My answer, I don’t know. All I knew was that if we all did a little to help, there would be a social change for the better.
At the beginning, I had the support of the most important person of my life, my daughter Luna. I explained that I had the dream to give all the children that I didn’t have, what I had given her.
With the help of my dear friends and former students, The Daniel Malka Photo Project was born.
Very few funds were raised in Canada. I quickly understood that I had to finance the first mission.
Destiny pointed to Peru.
My former students and other friends, found digital point and shoot cameras, helped me structure the NGO. Niki and Rose from Cosmos fed me. Reisa prepared the paper work.
I continued on my path. I had made a commitment, I would respect it at any cost.
I went on walking and shooting from sunrise. I stopped at Niki’s at 6 am to have coffee and our philosophical and spritual conversations. She and Rose pushed me, encouraged me, believed in the project as much as I did.
As Dr. Stan said, go to 5000m altitude if you want to, as long as you do what you love in a place where people love you, you will be more than fine.
Thank you Dr. Stan not only for saving my life but also for your kind and truthful words.
Thank you photography for being once again my most faithful life companion.
So, from Dance Me To The End Of Love, to Alone Together, from NDG to Ruka, the children thank all the ones that supported the project and I also thank destiny and all the ones that fueled it with their disbelief as well as the ones that shot at my feet. Here are some photos of my class of : “HOW THEY SEE”
I am still editing the children’s material.
If you would like to encourage these kids that need warm clothing, medication, shoes, books and to open up to traffic the 2 km trail that climbs to Ruka (3500 meters) in order for supplies to get to them and make less dangerous their 2 hour walk to school every day, please get in touch with us at email@example.com
My deepest thanks to these children, parents and community for greeting me like a member of their family.
They shared their food, smiles, hardships, values, culture, friendship, culture and homes with me, day after day.
The living conditions are hard. The cold is such that the hard drives wont function. The diet consists of potatoes, a bit of rice, noodles and Ayuco. Eating meat is a luxury, and it happens rarely. There is no running water.
The children wear cotton hoodies and sandals at close to zero temperatures. Most of them have colds.
Never the less, they smile, never complain and are starving to learn.
On Saturday mornings they would show up at my door at 6 am. Can we start shooting? they would ask.
I have been more then overwhelmed by their smiles, enthousiasm, their passion for the camera and their creative sense.
They are telling us the story of what, where and how Ruka is, their home, their friends, their animals, their family and how they see.
The results: you don’t need a $10,000 camera and a degree to express what you see from the heart, the guts and the soul.
These children have enlightened my life, I thank them on behalf of all of us who share the passion for photography.
Daniel Malka, Cusco Province, October 23rd, 2012
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