The first time I traveled out of the United States, I noticed that most kids the same age as me didn't have pictures of themselves or family. This peaked my interest in how I could make a difference by giving them a photo to keep. I thought I was a genius at age 13, but to do that you need a Polaroid or a portable printer and where was I going to find the money for that? So for a while, I left it at that.
My parents and I watch the television news almost every night. There was a story about an organization that takes Polaroid cameras to different countries, and their sole purpose is to give the pictures away. I thought this was so cool, so I looked them up on Google and found that you can apply/request to bring a camera with you if you are traveling to a third world country.
My family leads a group to Guatemala every year to build a house for a family-in-need. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to bring one with me. Print the Love did a wonderful job at communication, and supplying me with the camera and film for our trip.
When I first pulled out the camera in the remote area in the mountains of Guatemala, the kids were a little skeptical and shy about having their photograph taken. But, after I gave one out, every single kid came rushing wanting one for themselves. One with their brother, one with their friend, one with their stuffed animal. It was a new-found treasure for each child and adult.
When we were building the house, coming together in a matter of days before their eyes, the pictures provided a memory that could be kept forever, and posted prominently on the wall, or in a plastic frame (leftover film container, go recycling)! Memories of when the “gringos” came to build them a home and relationships were made that will never be forgotten.
I extend my deepest thanks to Print the Love for supplying me, free of charge, with a memory maker, not only for me, but for the lives we touched, and for allowing me to leave a memorable mark in a remote neighborhood overlooking the mountains in Guatemala.