We were in Senggigi, Lombok, for six days. Each day, this same group of boys would walk by, heading to school on the beach. Sorry. Not school-on-the-beach. They were walking on the beach to get to school.
I love how their shoes are in hand.
Those are my kids. We were walking back from a short visit to Pura Batu Bolong, a Hindu temple near our hotel in Lombok. They got ahead of my wife and me. They are incredibly great kids. When I became a parent, I had no idea how much happiness my children would bring me. The happy is immeasurable.
These girls, and the boy in the background, all attend a school that is run by the Bala Keselamatan (Salvation Army). They are a few of the more than 2000 students who attend the school in Palu, Sulawesi. It is a remarkable school, but what’s more remarkable are the students.
Beautiful, curious, enthusiastic, and energetic, their stories will inspire and break hearts. Many of them do not live with their parents. The reason? Their parents know that an education is important, but living in rural Palu with little means to a good education has left parents with one option – send their children to Palu to live and learn. Many of these children rarely see their parents.
They choose an education over family. That is a choice I’m glad I don’t have to make.
Too sick to write…not to sick to post.
We’ll talk soon.
…to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. “
So said Mark Twain, and I agree. I think that there are other agents for the fatality of negative human attributes, like education and education. And I should be clear – some people can travel the world looking for McDonald’s restaurants and Macy’s stores and Holiday Inn hotels. They can avoid all the culture and ethnicity and find North America everywhere they go, complaining that no one speaks English. Sadly, I’ve been around some of those people as I’ve traveled around South Asia.
I’ve also had the pleasure of traveling with and around people who are looking for a better understanding of the world and its people. It may be, though, that it’s the attitude of the traveler that will determine whether prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness are fatally eradicated. Mark Twain, from what I’ve read, seemed to be the kind of man who was willing to challenge himself as well as others. Some people, sad people, do not have any desire to upend their tiny understanding of the world.
Before I moved to Indonesia, I had seen photos of South Asian families riding on motorcycles. The whole family. Parents, kids, babies with groceries, backpacks and whatever else all packed on what we, in Canada, referred to as a scooter. Some little 125cc Honda.
Then I got here and witnessed it for myself. One part of me is excited at the prospect of getting a motorcycle and riding around Jakarta streets. The parent in me has little, maybe no, interest at getting my kids on my bike and riding with me.
How does the saying go? When in Rome? or Jakarta?
I took this shot while driving back to our villa from Borobudur temple. We stopped to take some photos in a town of tile-makers. After wandering through one of the shops, I noticed these kids. They were trying to not be noticed, but were still following me around.
I asked them whether I could take their photo. One little guy wanted nothing to do with the photos. These three were incredibly agreeable. I got some brilliant shots of them, which I might share with you over the next week or so.
Captured at KLCC. They show this “Bellagio” style light and music show every night. The kids go crazy and try to get wet without getting wet. It’s very fun to watch.
These are my kids. They’re mine. They’re also my wife’s, but they’re mine. Mine, mine, mine. Until the day comes that they leave the house, decide to get married, and move far aw…nahhh…they’ll still be mine.
This is purely a family project. It’s not a great photo. It’s not the best photoshop job…but it is my son. Today, at the pool, I set the camera to hi-burst mode and took shots of my kids jumping in the water. My wife snapped off a couple of me too, but I won’t post those here as some people may not have strong stomachs.
As my family, my parents and sisters and their families, wakes up in a couple of hours, this will greet them in their email in-boxes. I’m posting it for them. Mom and Dad, Kerry, Alison, brothers-in-law, niece and nephews, we miss you and love you and we’re having fun.
This is that thing in the playground where you hang on and then slide across while keeping your feet off the ground. I am 38, so it doesn’t work for me anymore, but it seems like a cool idea.
My son and I went for a hike Monday and we had a great little walk and talk. I have to admit that I’m more out of shape than I’d like to be, but I am working on it.
My son, however, kept telling me how tired he was, but spent the entire hike swinging a stick at everything and taking three steps for every one of mine. He exerted himself far more than I did and then came home to jump on the trampoline. I came home and sat down on the couch.
The photo above is him checking out our local cedars. They’re always beautiful and smell so great. He was ooh-ing and ahh-ing over their height.
I haven’t got a clue where he came from, but directly below me, riding the escalator backwards, was a monster. He tried to look vicious, but it just made him look cuter. He flashed his fangs and tried to intimidate me, but I stood my ground and took a quick photo. I survived the encounter, but just barely.
If you’re near the Granville station, watch out. He might be lurking.
The best part of this shot is Ben’s puffy vest. When my wife first got it for him, he looked unsure of what he was supposed to do with it. The only thing he has that looks like this vest is a sleeping bag, and he seemed to think we were pulling a prank on him. Why I love it is that Ben’s the kid who needs some extra size to him. He’s the skinniest boy I know. I was, apparently, just like him when I was little, but you’d never know it now. It’s hard to believe the kind of changes that I will witness as he grows up.
I wonder what my parents thought as I grew up?
Two very excellent professional photographer acquaintances of mine (Jason and Darcy at Revival Arts) are a huge photographic inspiration to me. I am in awe of the shots they think of, let alone take. While we were on the Oregon Coast, I thought I might try emulating some shots I’ve seen on their blog (which you should totally check out – it’s over there, on the right).
What do you think? Did they work?
That’s Ben. At first I was sure this was going to be a remake of White Men Can’t Jump because Ben could not get off the ground. He managed this shot pretty well.
And this is Hannah. I set the camera on high speed continuous shooting and managed to pull out a couple of good frames. She was game to keep jumping, but I think that may have been because she was so psyched to be at the ocean.
The hike up to Lindeman Lake, which we did not reach, is beautiful. It’s a 215 meter gain from the bottom to the top of the trail and I think we made it about 2/5 of the way. My kids had two reactions: 1. This is amazing! Why is it so green? Ohmygosh that’s water flowing downhill at a rapid rate! Can we do this again? and; 2. Let’s run up here as quickly as possible!
My wife and I, on the other hand, were gasping, hyperventilating, gasping, sweating (well, she was glistening) and thinking of the pain we were going to experience on the next day. We slowed the kids down and they, wonderfully, waited for us and looked at us like zoo exhibits (the mid-30’s sloth comes to mind). We convinced them we’d come back another day and finish the hike because there was no way we were finishing the hike.
The photo above shows what the scenery is like on the hike up. It’s beautiful.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f5.6; ISO 400; 1/50 sec.
When I was in my first year of teaching a decade ago I was idealistic and academic. I taught English to grade eleven and twelve students and was content, maybe arrogant, enough to believe that the only way students would become better humans was through academics. I offered time after class and after-school sessions for exam prep. I inspired students through my passion and enthusiasm for literature, and even let them read books with swear words (because it was relevant and would help them relate) in them. Students loved me and some even began to learn how to read and write better. Some wanted to know what I thought they should read beyond what they were assigned.
One major stumbling block, as I saw it, were organized sports. Rugby, basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, they were all culprits in taking students’ minds off of what was really important – learning. There was nothing to be learned by throwing a ball around or hitting others at full strength and speed. Schools should be places of learning, and the community could work out the sports. And if they couldn’t do it, well, it wasn’t my problem to work out.
Now that I have children, a daughter who’s nine and a son who’s six, and I teach student leadership I realize how short-sighted and naive and ignorant I was ten years ago. Kids love to play. And, shockingly enough, kids learn so much while playing. My kids have learned confidence, patience and teamwork. They’re learning that their dad is a bit slow and out of shape and that they have to play nice with me or I get hurt. I’ve learned that life has to be experienced not just read about. I’ve learned that if our fields and gyms are empty, so our kids will be. And I learned all of this from experience in the field (sorry about the pun).
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f9; ISO 100; 1/640 sec.
Hannah and I went out to the park; she practiced on her inline skates, I broke in my new running shoes. After the park I gave her the choice for dinner and she chose sushi. We ordered Salmon and California rolls, tempura yams and some steamed rice, along with tea and ginger ale. She tried it all. Apparently she’s not such a big fan of the salmon rolls and wouldn’t go anywhere near the wasabi, but she tried sushi twenty years before I ever did. I’m always so proud of her (well, when she’s not dropping clothing on her floor). She’s my “kiddo”.
Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 28mm; f2.8; ISO 400; 1/25 sec.
We had gotten up at 4:00 am to get to the plane on time, spent a couple of hours flying, a couple of hours waiting for luggage and then in transportation to the hotel. We had packed our luggage into the hotel and then had a few hours to kill. I thought my kids were going to falter, spaz out, start crying uncontrollably.
While killing time, we traveled to “Downtown Disney.” My children, who minutes earlier were begging to be carried and asking when we could go to the hotel to lie down, started dancing to the soundtrack of my wife’s life (think ’80’s and ’90’s top 40).
Ben, who begs to be carried and to go home at the best of times, saw the Lego Store in the offing and broke into a sprint. I thought of calling after him. Instead, I broke into a sprint as well, and tried to beat him to the store. Childlike excitement, 1; maturity, 0.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f6.3; ISO 100; 1/125 sec.
Disneyland has an attraction called “Jedi Training Academy.” Both of my children were called up, along with a couple dozen more, to the stage, given Jedi robes and lightsabers and taught to fight like Jedi.
I liked this attraction. Actually, I loved this attraction. After the kids have been trained, the Imperial Death March starts up and two stormtroopers (above) run down the aisle and onto the stage. The stage floor starts rising and Darths Vader and Maul jump out and duel with every one of the Jedi trainees.
I, overcome with emotion and joy, leaned over to my wife and quietly exclaimed, “I think I just peed myself a little.”
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f5.6; ISO 100; 1/250 sec.
Nothing witty. Just a photo of why I love this place.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f3.5; ISO 1600; 1/30 sec.
Ben (my son) had his birthday party last weekend and we hosted a shindig at a local community center for Ben and ten of his closest friends. While we were there, a lacrosse practice started in an adjacent room in the building.
What amazes me most is not that these kids give up part of their Saturdays to practice, but that one of them ends up in goal. These poor little goalies, dressed head to shin guard in armor, have all of their teammates use them as target practice for about two hours. That’s like asking for the firing squad, but knowing the bullets won’t kill you, only hurt like crazy.
Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f4.5; ISO 800; 1/60 sec.
Amazing performance by all Canadians today, but huge kudos to Alex Bilodeau and his gold on the moguls.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t too thrilled to have the Olympics in Vancouver, but I’ve caught the fever and I’m addicted to CTV and their coverage.
This shot, by the way, was taken back in December at Robson Square. My kids have been the “torchbearers” (pun intended) in our house for Olympic excitement.
Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 28mm; f4; ISO 100; 1/80 sec.
We had a dance at school last week. I used the school’s Nikon D50 to shoot the dance. I have to say I love my Pentax more every time I use that Nikon.
This was handheld, btw, and I did the b&w in Photoshop CS4.