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While in Peru we had the opportunity for an in-home visit to the family of one of the students.

This is arguably my favorite photo of the entire trip.

Physically, I didn’t fit in the home. Ducking under the smallish doorway, I stood a little crooked under the sloped tin roof. My eyes took a few minutes to adjust to the low, blue light cast from the tarped walls. Looking for a place to stand or sit out of the way, I found none. Eventually I settled into my space along one of the walls.

Listening to my three traveling partners interact with the family, I learned that Mom is the sole support for she and the kids. Dad ‘lives with another family.’ Language barriers and sensitivity forced that answer to stand alone, with no real clarification as to the ‘why’ that situation exists.

Eventually, I asked if I could take a picture. Mom gathered her son and daughter with her on the lone family bed, and I clicked the shutter.

Shelter. Family. Love.

I was humbled to have been able to witness a glimpse into this family’s most intimate time and place.

Did it change me?

ImageI’ve been home a little over a week now; settling back into the routines of ‘ordinary’ life.  I’ve spent time being frustrated at work; played golf with friends; performed routine chores around the house and I wonder if my trip to Peru has changed me at all?

The short answer is ‘yes.’  It has to have had an affect.  I think often about the people I met; my fellow travelers and the other adults we interacted with.  The kids, of course, and their beautiful smiling faces.  Those smiles will live with me forever!  The awesome scenery at Machuu Picchu, and the contemplation of what that site was and is.  Some tricks/tips/pointers I learned about photography, as well as the overwhelming sense of how much more I need to learn.

But did it really change me?  Before leaving, I felt called to this trip; to this group; to this ‘thing’ somehow, and I had faith that something important was going to happen for me.  It didn’t, or at least hasn’t yet.  At least not in an obvious or major way.  I had no idea what it was going to be-but just knew that it was going to be there.

Maybe what I learned, is that ALL of life changes us; and it’s rarely something big or major or obvious.  While I may be a little disappointed that lightning didn’t strike me from on high and I didn’t hear voices speak to me, I DID have an impact.  I got to play with those kids; got to share their joy and even captured a few moments of it on my memory card.  I was invited into a family’s home; shared their modest space and was humbled by the experience.  We didn’t communicate well verbally, but we connected.  I connected.  To the kids; to that family; to my newfound photographer friends; and to me and my inner voice of who I am and who I’m becoming.

Am I still living the same superficial life on many levels?  Certainly.  But deep down beneath the surface have I changed?  I have no doubt.  My thanks to The Giving Lens for the opportunity-it was a great experience!