A little over a week after arriving in El Paso we have finished the first stage of programming. Classes in Juarez and El paso started on Monday after meetings with both of our community partners and visits to possible installation sites on Saturday and Sunday.
The first half of the week in Mexico started slowly as we got to know the kids and as they became more comfortable with the cameras. Moving from camera basics, we went through storytelling and critical thinking exercises where we introduced more formally the idea of justice and heroes that is going to eventually lead to concrete images for installation. Thanks to the donation from Pentax, each kid has been able to take a camera home after class, which has been great for their creative process allowing them to relate photography more directly to their communities. Unfortunately, we had to suspend class on Thursday as we were denied access to the space we had been working in before and on Friday we held the workshop in a new space, with more limitations than the one we had before.
As our group of teachers lead the workshops in Mexico, we have been constantly checking in with the group in El Paso, building on different strategies so the exchange between the two groups can take place. Both the participants in El Paso and Juarez have written letters to their creative partners across the border and will soon meet via Skype before a face-to-face meeting at the installation site, if we manage to get the appropriate permissions.
After considering multiple sites, on Saturday we went to Anapra, which is on the borderline of New Mexico and Juarez with a couple of our partners from Creative Kids. Anapra may be where the final installation will take place. As soon as we got to the site, Border Patrol approached to ask us questions about our presence there. While on site, we took some measurements and were able to envision the installation with more clarity.