Date: February 13, 14 & 15, 2016
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Location: Departure from CONVIVEN - Villa Lugano - C: A: B: A
Participants: 8 students, 1 teacher and 1 coordinator
The weekend of February 13th 2106, a group of young Oje de Pez ( a photography workshop that Conviven founded and has operated for more then 7 years), students were selected to participate in a "Nomad Glances" photograrphy project. The project has as its central axis "journey". The central idea is the concept of exchange of glances from the trip. The trip as a meeting with oneself and the surroundings. The trip as a bridge to the new. The journey as a space for reflection and creation. And photography as the medium of expression and containment prepares, accompanies and records the journey, growth and trip.
Our journey took us to the interior of Argentina to the province of Entre Rios and the towns of La Clarita and Colonia Hocker. Both villages do not exceed 500 people, who are somewhat isolated due to poor road infrastructure and low socio economic means. They do not have access to cultural and educational opportunities that are available in the surrounding cities. Despite this condition, they are peoples who have a strong attachment to their roots and value and care for their land and their environment. The students who participated in this journey were between 15 and 20 years. All students who live in Villa Lugano who attend our Ojo de Pez photography workshop at Centro Conviven.
We coordinate this trip with the school of La Clarita to provide an exchange between our students and the students of the village. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by the teachers and students the school. We ate together and shared stories from our lives not so different despite the big city versus villge background. Later, a tour was organized by the local students and teachers of the community and saw and met many interesting people and surroundings. In addition, La Clarita recently inagurated a museum in the old railway station. This was an opportunity for our students to experience the past and present tradidtions of the village. It was a journey into the past. At night the village celebrated carnival - embracing their past and new traditions. This was the first time our students saw how villages celebrated a carnival and how they embraced nature and the blessings that it brings. They're was music, dancing and folkare - all themes that are embraced in the city carnival celebrations but so very differently.
The journey continued to small but tourist town of Colonia Hocker - we visited with local artisans and farmers who operated their own businesses and catered to the steady tourism of the community. We visited their farms and workshops and experienced sights, sounds and visions that are not common in the hectic city. The Ojo de Pez students were overwhelmed by the calm and natural beauty of the villages. They were overwhlemed at the kindness of the locals, at the safety and trust the community had. Our students come from and live in overcrowded areas. In very dangerous villages that are constructed in open land of the city. They are faced with constant threats and fears and experienced the feeling of being able to walk along the streets with out a care in the world. They let their guard down and began to smile, embrace the simple life and open their minds to new places and people. The cameras never stopped clicking. They were inspired. It was a new world, new faces, experiences, sky, which despite being the same sky we see every day in Buenos Aires, was filled with stars and new dreams and new hopes.
We encouraged the kids to keep a travel diary. For most it was the first time they left the city. And they had so much to say. For each story or dream they shared in the diary they had a photo to match it. The students are so thankful that they had the opportunity to travel to new places and experience new people and feelings. We are still talking about the trip till this day and the beautiful thing that came out of it is the planning and sharing of their experiences with the other students of Conviven - selflessly telling them that the next photography trip will be there opportunity to travel and evolve. The students matured and open their hearts during the journey. They returned to the hard and busy city more kind and open to sharing their stories - both written and photographs. We displayed our photo essays in an exhibition for our community and all were impacted by our experience. They too were able to travel.