During the past months I spent in India I had so many experiences. Often it was hard to reflect on these experiences as I was in the middle of it all. Coming back has therefore been a good time to think about what I have been through, both the good and the bad, and how I feel about this. I have found more clarity in the thoughts and feelings I had in country now that I am back home again.
GCY has a project they want us to do, to reflect on our year. For my project I chose to make a photobook with some stories and reflections.
This was quite a challenge, not only because I had far too many pictures to be able to include them all. But also to think of how I wanted to represent my experience. Knowing that no one back home really knew what my experience was and many having their own ideas, thoughts and shapes how what I had been doing, I felt a responsibility to be honest through my work.
Though pictures can say a thousand words, they might not say the right ones. India is such a complex society, and my experience was complex with it. To be able to give a full picture of my time and observations proved almost impossible.
Hence, to add to the photographs I wrote small reflections of some of the main aspects of my experiences. A little bit about living with an Indian host family, of working with Teach For India in a low income school and travelling with Donna. I also included some reflections of the poverty in India. Something I found so often misrepresented by media.
Many hours were also spent editing pages of the book, so that the pictures and text were aesthetically pleasing. Though I must admit I probably could have done better, I had a tight time frame as the book took over a week to print and be sent, and GCY had a time limit for the project.
After the book arrived I have had great joy in sharing it with my family and friends. They are all very interested in looking through it and hence learning about my experience. I am also very pleased as I can keep this photo book as a memoir and piece of reflection for my own joys in the future. I have always enjoyed looking through old albums, and one day this might be one of those.
Making the book was a great way to really think through what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it. This is something I have found hard every time I returned home from Hong Kong too. Trying to express an honest reflection to how you’re doing. Especially as most people are more interested in the one line answer than the full on one hour talk that would be needed. Hopefully this book will be a more interesting alternative to a 30 minute rant.
We will see how used it will be with time, but I am definitely bringing it with me to university next year, where it will be on my shelf for anyone to take a peek through.