In Kerala I was just once in 2006. It was quite nice, but for me just too hot and green. A travel-request reminded me of a contact, which I got at the ITB in Berlin few years ago: Kabani Tours. They do sustainable and social-responsible tourism especially in the mountainous area of Wayanad. Maybe that could be a new good starter to get engaged with Kerala and its tourist aspects again.
During the Kamerakidz-Projects I realised that not only the children benefit, but also myself got a much quicker and deeper insight into the area and culture. I got some time and a good number of donated cameras. So I got into contact with Kabani and asked them wether they see a possibility and they have interest in the project. And so it was!
So I travelled to Kozhikode in december 2018 and met first Sreejith and Sumesh from Kabani Tours. We went together to Mothakkara, where they got me a room in the homestay of Mercy and George. They thought that this village was most suitable and the primary school, too. During the Kamerakidz-Projects I realised that it is best for me not to prepare too much, but just jump into what is there. That needs good flexibility – and I think I am not that bad with that by now. And that was really good – otherwise I wouldn’t jump into the experiment “primary school” and “very young children”.
And so I met with Sreejith (also a passionate photographer) at the Gouvernment Primary School, greeted the teachers and children and introduced the project. Together we explained the cameras and did the first photos. The children didn’t talk much english (due to their age), but they understood me quite well and were open with their communication.
But as smoothly the project started – it didn’t continue…. The reason were me and my laptop, which crashed after just 2 days. I had to go to Kozhikode and it was diagnosed, but couldn’t get repaired. But Kabani was so nice to borrow a laptop and so at least the saving of the photos was guaranteed. Therefore and also due to the holidays I didn’t get much opportunities to meet with the children. Shortly before christmas the school closed for the vacations. A boy “disappeared” – and later we got to know the reason: the whole family went for a burial. I became friends with 3 girls (Alekya, Alona + Avadi), whom I gave together a camera. From them I got to know a lot and had insight into their houses. Some Kamerakidz lived closed by so that I got to see some more homes. Also the guide Radhamani and my homestayfather George helped eagerly manageing the cameras. Some children had to share the chargers. All involved people supported the children and me. So in the end I got a lot of really wonderful photos on the memory cards!
For the pictures we have to thank the children, for my knowledge the many many village-encounters on own or accompanied walks. It is a true community-result, which we achieved in quite short time.