2016 in Pictures: The Year of Embodiment
I hated Injera, Shiro, Tagabeno. Any food with a slight flavor of Berberi made me want to run far far away. My host family spoiled me with rice and veggies the first three months while my friends swallowed their lunch without chewing. One year into peace corps things are different now. The Berberi is the same, the injera is the same, the change is within. The smell of Shiro makes me feel at home. My mouth waters at the sight of fresh sour Injera.
In our staging, before we came to Ethiopia Peace Corps held this touching session for us about perspective. The scenario was all made up. A few women came in knelt on the ground, a man came in sat on a chair. He put a hand on one woman’s shoulder. The woman, still on her knees took food from a plate and put it in his mouth. My first and only thought at that time, “disgusting.” I was looking through the lens that I built through my past experiences. I had seen women degraded before treated as servants and yes, in-fact, it did look a lot like this scenario.
In the end they revealed that in this culture, the earth was seen as pure, holy and only women were allowed to touch it. They cared for the land and were only allowed to hold food provided from it. I was wrong, and I knew I would be many more times, but I kept this in mind. My lens isn't perfect but it is mine, and I am broadening it day by day.
I feel different today. I can’t tell you all the ways I have changed, but I am happier, more myself, than I have ever been before.
Gratitude for the old and the new. For the good times and the not so satisfactory times. For my family in LA, in DC, in Pakistan, and Ethiopia, friends, this beautiful land, Peace Corps, and all the people who let me capture a moment of their life.
Here's some of my 2016 in pictures from Ethiopia.