23 de juny 2015

10 years. 10 photos. Number 1: Preetha


As I said some days ago, next November will be 10 years since I landed in India for the first time. In the coming weeks, until November, I'll summarize my ten-year relationship with that country through ten photos and their histories. 

Today's photo shows Preetha when she was only 8 years old. The photo was taken in 2005 during a stay of three months in Shanti Bhavan, which was my first experience both as a volunteer and as an educator. I have lived many subsequent experiences in India, in other schools and organizations, but that first made the difference. I learned and grew more in those three months than in many years. 

Then Preetha was a shy and smart girl who was studying fourth grade (she graduated a few weeks ago!). Her smile was one among the 24 who received me when I entered the classroom to teach for the first time in my life. So it's impossible to forget that batch, they literally changed my life. If I am now doing research on learning it is because of them.

Since 2009 I've drawn several portraits of some children of Shanti Bhavan and I used this photo to draw a portrait of Preetha that shortly after I gave to her, but in fact, right now she is better artist than I am!

This is therefore a very special picture for many reasons!