What an amazing week in Nepal! I have come away with a wonderful group of new friends and collegues and I am feeling really great about the training program and portrait project with GPI. This was the first time I tried the condensed version of the curriculum to see if we could teach much of the basics of photography and photojournalism over two half day sessions. Would it be enough so that I could leave them with their new camera and they could begin to practice taking pictures for their stories? The class went really well, thanks in large part to my amazing students.
The GPI reporters are such bright and highly motivated women, so even when there was a complicated technical explanation, they were very interested in understanding it and they kept asking questions until they got it. Rachana, our translater did a great job helping me to bring the material to life with her energy and enthusiasm. It is particularly rewarding to be training women, some of whom are also mothers like myself, who feel such a passion for journalism and for telling important stories about their communities.
It was again a reminder about all we take for granted in the United States, especially the opportunity to go to school and learn any skill we want. That I have this opportunity to pass on what I have learned to those who don’t have those same resources feels like a gift. I was touched by the level of appreciation and love they conveyed to me for giving them the photo training, and it made me feel even more honored by the opportunity. I am really blessed.
Cristi was also training several new journalists during the week we were there, so I got to see the fresh perspectives and enthusiasm that they are bringing to the Nepal staff. I sat in on a pitch meeting while they shared all of their many ideas for upcoming stories, ranging from domestic violence to environment issues and health concerns for women in Nepal.
Kathmandu was a great experience, but as someone who loves the mountains, it was tough to see them off in the distance and not be able to go explore the country. Everyone kept telling me I should get out and see the rest of Nepal, but work kept us in the city this time and so I will just have to plan to go back one day to see my new friends and for some adventure in the country. Rachana invited me to come back and go white water rafting on a river which tour books call “suicidal”, but which she promises isn’t really that dangerous because as she says, she does it all the time. We’ll see how brave I’m feeling. I already survived a ride on the back of her moto, dogding traffic in Kathmandu, so maybe that will be the next adventure.
Now that we have officially kicked off this project I look forward to meeting more of the talented GPI reporters from around the world and also the professional female photographers who have agreed to help me in bringing this training to all 25 GPI newsdesks. That potential of mentorship and friendship among women storytellers is one of the things that excites me most! I can’t wait.