Tanzania, Africa Series: Part 2 of 5, Printed Photos
In addition to volunteering at the schools, I wanted to do something more for the children. I’m a photographer, my passion has always been photography, and the more I thought about it, I wondered if these children had ever actually seen a photograph of themselves. I decided I’d bring a Polaroid camera, snap some pics, and hand them out. I was figuring 100-200 kids, which would mean 20 packs of Polaroid film. No room in my suitcase for that with all my bug repellant!
After a little research, I found a Canon SELPHY CP1300 printer. Compact, prints quickly, works with Wi-Fi, great reviews. Perfect. It's Dye Sublimation printing, which is a printing process that uses a thermal transfer to transport varying amounts of colored dye pigments from a carrier ribbon, or film, to the PVC printing surface to which the dyes bond chemically. Anyway, I packed it up with my camera gear and planned to carry it onto the airplane with me – heavy, but too fragile to check. Another suggestion – read up on carry-on weight limits before arriving at the airport! After shifting some items around our suitcases and thoroughly annoying my daughter, it all worked out and I lugged all the equipment around flight after flight.
When we arrived at the school on Monday, I learned I’d be the designated photographer to document the trip! :) :) Wow, I was thrilled! What an opportunity! Oh, and I also learned there weren’t 100-200 kids at the school. More like 1,500! What?? Good thing I decided against packing polaroid film! Monday night I printed out a few photos to hand out on Wednesday when we returned to the school.
The first set of photos of the little girl – She hung around the Stout team quite a bit, so I was able to find her pretty easily when we returned. When I handed her the photo, she seemed confused at first, but quickly realized what she was looking at: herself! She turned and looked at me with a huge smile and that made lugging all that equipment around worth it. I had to hold back tears watching her run around and show everyone the photo. I can't even begin to tell you how I felt.
The second set of group photos – I am showing the children the photographs. They were shouting out names of the children, pointing at them, and smiling. Seeing the children light up that way truly magical.
At the end of the week, I gave a stack of photos to the Director of the school. He was thrilled and is planning to make a photo wall for the children to look at. I guess I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m in Arusha!