More Than Just a Meal

by Chien-heng on 週二, 24 二月 2009 評論
Aurelie comments on one of the photographs she took for a book presenting twelve associations in Taiwan. Read her introduction to the project below.

A three-storied house on a hill in Muzha, on a Saturday afternoon. In the playground, young kids have a nap after lunchtime. At first sight, you would think you are in a kindergarten. But as I enter, nannies disinfect my hands. Others are giving ‘magic cocktails’, which is medication, to some children. Upstairs, elder kids have class with a volunteer teacher. We are in an orphanage where some children carry HIV, run by Yangjie, a ’second mum’ to the 24 children.
Yangjie’s devotion to the children is a story of love and fight for life; offering a second chance to the ones who need it the most.

This photo book is a story full of interesting encounters, emotions captured through the lens of a camera… The twelve people in this book have different backgrounds and stories to tell, but to me they were one and the same: people who went through difficult times and now are making a difference in the society for others.

For example, after the sudden death of her husband, Mrs Wu built an association to welcome single parents. Following the 1999 earthquake, which devastated Nantou County, Mr 廖振益 built ‘Longyan Community‘ to distribute lunch boxes to the ones in need. Now, these associations have grown bigger and I could see how the combined efforts of the community can put an end to loneliness and turn it into positive energy.

Problems do not simply disappear and it takes time to learn to live with them, but as Mrs Wu working at “Single Families Association” in Taipei, told me: “When I am helping the people coming here, I am also helping myself”. Indeed, as handicaps or hard times affect people’s lives, it can also mean a new beginning to one’s life, a new experience, a new challenge.

All the pictures in this book are matters of reflection to me, and make me think of what can still be worked on: A better access to normal education for children carrying HIV, training courses other than massage courses for blind people, more programs of rehabilitations for ex-prisoners…

As I was photographing, I learned more about the Taiwanese society. These people could be me or you. And as it did for me, I hope this book will call for more collective awareness among others.

Here is the link to Oliver Yang, the other photographer with whom I worked on this project:
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