I wish I can say that I came to South Africa with the full intention to give back. I wish I can say that dedicating hundreds of hours to self teach myself photography was so that I could give beautiful pictures to needy people. I also wish I can say I was meant to do this.
But no, it all happened by sheer coincidence. Just like everything that has happened to me this year. We didn’t plan to come to South Africa. I didn’t plan to have a life here. I didn’t expect to make so many great friends. I didn’t know there was this much poverty here till I saw it with my own eyes. Despite that, I didn’t know anything about giving back. And when I started going into the field to give back, I never knew it would be so rewarding. I never knew people who have never met me before could be so happy just because I visited them. I never knew that their smiles could warm my heart in such a big way.
With the Help Portrait movement, the only thing I knew how to do was take a proper picture. I knew how to take photographs and it made sense for me to offer my services to those who needed them. It also helped that I had no confidence that I could deliver great pictures but I wasn’t charging a fee and I was told no one would care about the technical quality of the pictures. So I got out there to do this. Be a part of the Help Portrait movement.
Photo credit: A fellow volunteer from Help Portrait. I’m not sure who.
I documented my entire Help Portrait experience on my blog, just like I do with everything else. When I’m old and toothless, I want to remember the life I had in South Africa.
What a huge honour. I am thrilled for the opportunity. I knew what I would have to be to get on CNN when I was a banker. But what do I know about getting on CNN as a housewife?
Photo credit: The hubby
Back in the old days, I would probably have popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate this moment. But it seems so trivial now. Sure, I am thrilled. But I’m not jumping up and down for joy like it’s the greatest achievement in my life.
In my earlier life, achievements were so important. Whether I felt self confident or not depended on what kind of job I did, how much money I made, where I was on the corporate ladder and the successes I could check off in my list of achievements to accomplish before 30. It was a stressful and demanding life. If you are reading this blog and feel that you would never be able to write a blog because you would have “nothing” to write about, you are probably living the same life.
It’s amazing what Africa does to a person. Now I feel calm and peaceful in a way I never had before. “Achievement” and “success” have a new meaning. Not everything is celebrated with an expensive bottle of champagne (well, we can’t afford it now anyway). But every so-called achievement goes deep into the soul and makes me feel strong, calm and confident in its own magical way.
Thank you for joining me on my journey on this blog.. for your endless support.. encouragement.. and all the congratulatory messages that have flowed in.