Saturday, August 6, 2011

Update on Salem in Ecuador

Here's a link to what been going on at the Salem youth Center for children. If you have cameras to donate, hold onto them until I'm able to collect and store them. At the moment I am moving residences, so everything for Camera for Kids in Ecuador is on hold.

From their website:

Our SALEM centre in Mindo, Ecuador, looks after the most underprivileged children and young people of the village. We try to offer them extensive care and find solutions to their most urgent problems.

Children’s home

There are currently 13 children between 7 and 13 years old in theSALEM children’s home. They stay from Monday to Friday atSALEM and go home to their families over the weekend.

Children and youth centre

The children and youth centre operates as a day care centre attended by 25 to 30 children and young people. Here, they can discover their own abilities and learn to put ideas into action. Local teachers help with homework and our qualified staff offer many possibilities for the children to apply what they have learned. In the craft studio and the sewing studio they can enjoy practical work with many different tools and materials, improving skills and creativity.

‘Comedor Comunitario’

Our vegetarian ‘soup kitchen’ offers a wide variety of dishes for people in need, including the young, elderly and disabled alike. Every day, about 40 people are provided with a good meal here.

Working together with local organisations

While co-operating with other local environmental groups, some of our work consists of teaching about reusing and recycling, as well as general education about the care and protection of the environment.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Karla from Mindo: 4 year old photographer

Today we walked around town with the kids from Salem, and found nature where we could. As the town is about 6 blocks square, that's not too hard to do :-) We had Karla, or Karlita as her mom sometimes called her, and Paula, her mom with us. Karla is crazy about snapping that shutter on the camera, and took about 200 photos. I posted some of her better ones here, as well as those I took of her taking pictures. She's adorable and stole Joe's heart as well as mine. 

 Karla at Salem before we headed around town, these 2 photos by Maria, another Salem child.

Karla and her best friend.

Paula, holding Karla's hand, is her mother. She may be 18 or 19 years old, and works at Salem helping take care of the kids. She's very capable, but in the States she would be a kid herself. 

Cristian, Susana, Paula, Karla and Joe. Karla stayed close to Joe :-)

Top to bottom: Paula, Susana, Miara, Jose and Karla.

 Paula took this cute one.

Photo by Karla of her mom.

She is so intent with her camera, and only 4 years old!

 This is the photo she took. There were quite a few shots of Joe's middle, her view point tended to cut off a few heads :-)

By Karla as well as the next one.

When we reached the river Karla stripped to her undies and went in.  Her mom joined her and they played by the waterfall! The amount of  oversight by parents here in Mindo is a fraction of what we do at home, children run free and are not watched closely at all! But no one seems to get hurt and there is more freedom and less fear.

She loves her camera!

Karla started out the day much cleaner :-)

This is her special pose to take a photo :-)

 Karla took these next few photographs, all on her own. I think they came out very well, she's really looking at her world.
Her Mom, Paula.


Joe, she took lots of photos of him :-)

Karla took this one and I took the next one of her taking this shot...

What a great child!

From Joe's Blog

This is from my husband Joe's blog, the 2 of us had  great time with the children!

Today we went back to SALEM to spend some more time with the kids (see yesterday's post for info about SALEM). The photo above was taken in the Parque Central de Mindo (basically the center of town).

One of the town merchants, Susan and Luis Alban, the owners of  CasKaffeSu, a hotel, restaurant, and wine bar, allowed Amy to bring a half dozen kids into the courtyard to take photos.  They have a beautiful, colorful, and fanciful, Escher-inspired design which the kids enjoyed.

Karla was just bubbling over with enthusiasm, taking pictures of anything and everything with wide-eyed abandon as we roamed the town.  She could also steal your heart away in an instant - she got mine anyway.

Cesar had more fun playing with this wheelbarrow, resting in it, or figuring out ways to get it over the bamboo bar than any child could have doing anything.

Here's Amy with her "kids" finishing up the field trip before going inside to upload the days' fun.

A slideshow with music has them all captivated as each child uploads his/her photos to Amy's computer.

And now it's time for Amy to say goodbye for another year to her "kids."  Cameras for Kids in Ecuador has brought something new and different to these kids who in many cases have lived very dificult lives.  Your help to Amy and/or SALEM has brought the kids joy and unleased wonderful creativity.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

We're in Mindo, Ecuador!

 Joe took this photo of me and children of Salem yesterday on our photo walk, lots of fun!

Cristian took some good photos with 'his' camera, but needs a larger memory card, at 16MB he had to keep erasing images. I have to work on that :-)

Taken by Jose, the cameras and money you donated have given lots of pleasure to these children.

Cristian and Maria helping each other out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Call for Used Digital Cameras

     Photo taken by Sthip  0rozco, a 14 year old boy, with one of the donated cameras.

I have about 2 months to collect some good used cameras for the children on Mindo, Ecuador and I need your help. Do you have any underused used cameras in good working order? 4 megapixels, or greater, that you could donate? The children really appreciate them, and you can see by the photos in this blog that they are great at seeing and capturing what is around them.

A calendar was printed with the photos taken with the
cameras some of you generously donated last year.
Here's a blurb from the calendar:

The idea to publish this calendar is based on the photography workshop of Amy Davies from the United States, who visited SALEM-Ecuador in January 2010. She brought some used digital cameras which she used to teach our children how to take pictures – and a lot of them keep taking pictures with great passion. Some of their pictures were so impressive that we didn’t want to leave them stored uselessly on a computer. In cooperation with the SALEM children, we designed this calendar with their photos and their stories for you to see the everyday life in SALEM-Ecuador.

        I hope to have the calendars for sale soon, they are being
        shipped from Germany and are taking much longer to get
here than I anticipated. Here's a link to

Please drop off cameras, or mail them, to
Yankee Book & Art Gallery,
10 North St., Plymouth, MA 02360 before December 1st.
If stopping by call first to check if the store is
open at 508-747-2691

If you are a member of the Plymouth Digital Photographers Club
you can bring your donated cameras to a meeting. If you
know me personally you can always mail them to my home
or hand them to me when you see me :-)
Thanks for considering the children of Salem.

PS. Good children's shoes are in high demand as well, if you
have some in great condition pass them my way.
Particularly black shoes or athletic ones.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Photo Calendar from the Children of Salem

I am very happy to say that the children of Salem's photos have been made into a calendar! It's a 12 month calendar for 2011 and Jonas just emailed me about it yesterday. Here are some of the details from the email he sent:
Dear Amy,

The reason to write you is, that we have designed the SALEM Ecuador children's photo calender with photos taken mostly by our children. Attached, I send you pdf with the preview and I hope you like it. The calender will have the size of app. 29 by 40 cm (11.5 by 15.5'').

I definitely send you some as soon as they are printed. Furthermore I am wondering if there is a possibility to sell some of the calenders within your circle of friends. All the sales revenue of the calendar goes to SALEM Ecuador. We will sell it in Germany for 12 € (15 $) plus packing an shipping. That means we have about 6 € revenue per calendar.

If so, what do you think how many calendars you would be able to sell?

Many thanks for your help. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,
Jonas Lange
Projekt Koordinator | Project Coordinator

Jonas has been in Ecuador for about a year running Salem, he is from Germany and has much compassion for the children. It was a pleasure working with him while I was there.

Calendars will be on sale September 8th, email me if you would like one.

The cameras I brought to Mindo in January 2010 are still going strong, with Alvaro overseeing the organization and loaning of them. I will be returning there in December and am hoping to bring more donated cameras to the children. This time I would prefer cameras with a dedicated rechargable battery, and charger, the recharging of double A batteries was very cumbersome last time, some didn't hold their charge and we didn't have enough plugs or battery chargers to keep them all charged all the time. So that's what I'd prefer, but if you have a good working digital camera with double or triple A batteries I will take that as well.

Thanks for considering a donation of your photographic equipment.
Do you have an unused digital camera? As the organizer of the Plymouth Digital Photographers club, I am looking for donations of used digital cameras for the Cameras for Kids in Ecuador project. Working with the non profit German group, Salem,
I will be teaching children with very few resourses how to use photography as an artistic expression while developing skills and making them feel valued.

Please drop off or mail any working digital cameras to the
Yankee Book & Art Gallery,
10 North St., Plymouth, MA 02360 before December 1st. I will be volunteering in Mindo, Ecuador in December/January 2011.

Any digital camera with more than 4 megapixels in working order is appreciated. Memory card, cord, battery charger and instruction manual would be great extras if you have them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Alvaro's Photography

Alvaro lives at Salem International in Mindo, and goes home to his mother's house on Friday and Saturday. His family used to live in Quito and he went to the best school, had a nice house, but everything changed when his dad up and left one day, plunging the family into poverty. His mother brought them to Mindo, but wasn't able to cope when Alvaro became depressed and she asked Salem to take him in. He loved using the camera, specifically the Nikon 5700 that Mary Ann L. from my photo club in Plymouth donated. Always asking lots of questions, wanting to know when I was coming back and using the camera until he understood it well. Jonas has put him in charge of the cameras after I left, at Alvaro's request, and he's set up a sign out sheet and organized the lot of them. It is so heartening to see him blossom and create images of his own choosing, he took the camera everywhere and here are some of my favorites. I think he has a great eye and has captured some wonderful expressions and moments of his everyday life. What do you think?

Alvaro's self portrait. He is 13 years old.

I'm not sure who all the people are he photographed, I wasn't there. I believe this is his primo, cousin.

Sister and half brother.

Current father figure and half brother.

Self portrait in a bathroom mirror at Salem.

His mother and step brother.

His mother and her boyfriend.

I love how he posed these family members against the blue wall!

At school. I think the girl on the right is his sister.


Jonas at school with Alvaro's professor.

His mother and sisters.


At Salem.

A meal at Salem. Jonas kindly invited me to lunch when I was there, a great place to eat, all open to the outdoors. And never cold!

I took these last 3 shots of Alvaro.

He's really into photography!
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