Thank You for Participating

I am late. Only by 10 minutes but late nonetheless. It’s a clear Monday morning, the sun isn’t yet scorching and the rains have passed. He isn’t phased. In baggy army shorts and bearing my life investment, a EOS Canon Rebel T3, he walks with swag. I throw my hair back into a bun as we push through the crowded bus stop. There, look! he says.

I spin around and selfishly scan the street for an unoccupied taxi. Then I see her. She is perfect. Driving with grace and power, alert and obviously “con pilas” as my local partner, Frank comments. Without further discussion, we weave through the traffic to her side and hop into the back of her yellow taxi hub.

At first there was some confusion. Photos of women. Okay like how? Doing what? Does my mom count? With deep breathing and a hot cup of coffee, we managed to clear up the guidelines of the project. Think of three words to describe women and girls in your community. Then take photos to capture the meaning behind those three words. Minimum of 10 photos. Hecho. 

I met Frank through one of my English students. Interested in photography and always eager to participate, he is a diamond in the rough. He is built to fight, thick with taut muscles but a heart of gold. It wasn’t until recently, that I found out about his family. He’s private about things like that. How violence was a frequent occurrence, and how even though there were a greater number of women in the house than men, they had little say and even less freedom. Then it all clicked. Who better to work with on my “Definitions / Images ” Girl Effect Project that he who has experienced firsthand the injustice that exists between genders? As soon as I mentioned Nike (as a partner), he was as good as sold.

After a clumsy explanation, she agrees. The three of us bounce along the 15 de Noviembre in her new Toyota pick-up. She grins cheekily as she says I’m from Loja. The rich aroma from my previous cup of coffee wafts into my mind. Cafe, I respond. Cafe, she nods. She is beautiful with a bright complexion and soft eyes. At the next block, Frank jumps out of the car into the street to take quick snapping photos of us slowly pulling away. Women working he shouts to me in broken English as we wave a brisk goodbye. With a smile and a sense of a job well-done, I arrive to the hospital. A tiempo. Just in time.