Thursday, August 8, 2013

Journey towards Knowledge

"Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us."
Samuel Smiles 

Today was our final day to analyze the photos the Brettonwood students took to describe their Kenneth Gardens neighborhood. As I anticipated, the photos were AMAZING! But what I was not expecting were their incredible interpretations. I can not express how many times during the data analysis process that I uttered audible gasps of wonderment and pride. For example, when one of the students was asked to describe why he took pictures of the men who organize soccer games for the youth, he replied, "because they are the people working in the shadows that are hardly noticed but do so much good". He also went on to describe the soccer field as his place of refuge, where he could be protected and escape the dangers and risks of his neighborhood. The brilliance of their young minds was nearly overwhelming. Many of them were able to see the beauty in their community that many are blind to. However, several were also able to highlight those barriers they believe stifle the youth from realizing their full potential and maintaining their health. Each picture was accompanied by a powerful narrative and caption that illustrate their take on the image and its relation to their neighborhood. As an outsider, hearing how they interpret their surroundings was fascinating.

My positionality as an outsider conducting researcher abroad has generated an interesting perspective as well as challenging experiences. In my own photovoice project, I captured this sentiment by taking a picture of ascending steps that were both shaded and lit. Being an outside researcher is a journey, full of barriers and successes, but at the end of the day, through all of the triumphs and failures, the knowledge accrued makes it worth it.

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