I was really excited to return to the community of Ccaccaccollo this year. Last year my photo group spent three days doing a home stay and portrait project for the Planeterra Foundation in this community. This year, we were returning only to visit the weaving community and have demonstrations on how the community operates.
Our G leader, Elard Aranibar, has been to the community many times and had taken a few photos of this elderly man while visiting in 2008. In 2011, the man passed away.
When we returned to the community this year, Elard was showing the photos to the man’s family. It was a very emotional moment and it reminded me of the power of photos, even more so for those who don’t have them as a regular part of their lives.
For us, photos are standard and help us remember our youth as well as the elderly in our lives. For many communities around the world, photos don’t exist and memories are only those in your mind. That is why the emotion behind these photos is so incredibly powerful.
In February 2012, I embarked on an exciting journey to lead nine photo enthusiasts on a photo-tour in Peru. Machu Picchu was one of the main draws for people to participate in this trip, but in the end, many of the travelers were profoundly touched by a deeper experience when we spent three days and nights living with and getting to know families in a community called Ccaccaccollo (caca-coy-yo) which was nestled high in the Andes Mountains in the Sacred Valley of Peru.
While there, we used our photographic talents to capture family photos for the community. While tourists have often snapped photos of these amazing, warm and colourful people, none of those photos ever get returned to the community for them to cherish. What a pleasure it was for us to give them a lasting memory of their family through a photograph. Our group of 10 photo enthusiasts photographed over 60 families in one day, communicating in broken Spanish and hand gestures. It truly was a great learning experience and a fun challenge for all involved.
Now back in Canada, we are working to complete our commitment to the community by sending their printed family photos back to them. These will be the only photographs in their homes and, as you can imagine, they will be received with incredible emotion and cherished for a lifetime.
We invite you to attend our fundraising art show called Peru Through the Lens. The art show will take place on May 10, 2012 from 7-9pm at The Adventure Travel Company, 5552 Kaye Street, Halifax and will feature works of art from all 10 of the photographers who traveled together for this unforgettable experience. We will also have a variety of the family photos on display during the show which continues until May 31st. Our art prints will be sold to raise funds for the Ccaccaccollo community.
Funds raised will be funneled through Planeterra, a not-for-profit organization, to directly support the community of Ccaccaccollo. Planeterra is the leader in this community helping families preserve the ancient craft of weaving, handing it down to their children and self-creating important and valuable employment income for the entire community. Through our donations we are helping to create sustainable opportunities for the community so their traditions, language and way of life can be preserved.
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors – I hope you will drop by their websites to see what they have to offer.