Culture Xplorers
Honors and Awards

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR PHOTO PARTICIPANTS & GENEROUS SUPPORTERS!

Total Funds Raised: $995.00!

Check out the Honorary Recognition Wall

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Congratulations to the e Bond, Winner of the The 2012 Positive Impact Photo Contest!

“Mai”

LOCATION: Hoi An (Vietnam), 2010

STORY: Meet my friend Mai. We met while he was participating in a workshop I was teaching on behalf of the Lifestart Foundation. I was in Vietnam to teach handmade books, but somehow about halfway through it became evident that Mai was actually an amazing painter. Once discovered, we created a new project and since then he has been making beautiful hand painted hats. Mai’s life, like mine, was forever changed by that encounter. Each time I travel I learn just how much I don’t know about everything and how exciting it is to gather new information.


Name TOTAL VOTES (including supported votes)
e Bond 173.5
Sandra Long 108
Lois Brassart 36.5
Tessa Guze 33.5
Karen Leonard 26
Zach McDuffie 30
Bill Davis 20
Robert Whitworth 17.5
Susanne Long 8.5
Sylvia Gardner-Wittengenstein 8
Chris Sorensen 6
Anne Laszlo 4
Kathy Morris 2

 

 


Thank you to all our participants!

  • 1. E BOND
  • “Mai”
  • LOCATION: Hoi An (Vietnam), 2010
  • STORY: Meet my friend Mai. We met while he was participating in a workshop I was teaching on behalf of the Lifestart Foundation. I was in Vietnam to teach handmade books, but somehow about halfway through it became evident that Mai was actually an amazing painter. Once discovered, we created a new project and since then he has been making beautiful hand painted hats. Mai’s life, like mine, was forever changed by that encounter. Each time I travel I learn just how much I don’t know about everything and how exciting it is to gather new information.
  • 2. LOIS BRASSART
  • “Boys At Play”
  • LOCATION: Small village in Turkey, 2011
  • STORY: On our travels to Turkey we spent time in small rural villages connecting with local people. The children were amazing and went about their business ignoring our cameras.  Language was not a barrier; we truly felt a heart connection we were often invited into homes for tea, offered fresh walnuts, and left loaded down with roasted seeds and apples. I came upon these two boys as they were ready to knock a rock off the top of a wall. I love the intensity of the companion of the sling shot owner; he really wonders if his friend will be successful.
  • 3. BILL DAVIS
  • “Umbrella Boat”
  • LOCATION: Arakan State (Burma), 2009
  • STORY: Where would you find a sail made from used umbrellas? “Traditional” in a lot of cultures means not throwing anything away—many people are too poor to afford this luxury (is this a luxury?). This is not the case in my own culture, but the green side of me appreciates this efficiency, and I’m often reminded of it when I travel. The boat in the photo is a great example: the sailmaker clearly honored this tradition of thriftiness, and the product was a beautiful celebration of her culture.
  • 4. SYLVIA GARDNER-WITTENGENSTEIN
  • “Don Filoberto With Family”
  • LOCATION: Antigua (Guatemala), 2005
  • STORY: Sharing time and stories with the family of Don Filoberto, a small-scale coffee farmer near Antigua, was one of the most heartfelt experiences I had during a Culture Xplorers trip in Guatemala. The mother and daughters cheerfully taught us how to make tortillas, later enjoyed by all. Then the family accompanied us to their small plot halfway up Volcano Agua. Don Filoberto shared insights on farming, along with vivid memories of the hardships his family endured during Guatemala’s long civil war. At our farewell, Don Filoberto thanked us warmly for the financial support and sense of reciprocity that visits like ours provide.
  • 5. TESSA GUZE
  • “Pinky & Sapna”
  • LOCATION: Jaipur (India), 2010
  • STORY: In 2010 I taught in a slum in India. The people in this slum worked hard but had very little. Our school was the space between two buildings with a tarp tied over it to keep the sun out. No chairs, not desks, no books. This was the closest thing my students had ever known to school. This is a picture of two of my students, Pinky and Sapna. They were always eager and engaged. Both girls were the oldest child and spent most of their time caring for younger siblings, yet somehow managed to remain wonderful students.
  • 6. ANNE LASZLO
  • “A Picture Builds a Thousand Bridges”
  • LOCATION: Concepcion (Guatemala), 2010
  • STORY: I toured Guatemala with Culture Xplorers. We traveled to Concepcion, a highland village where we were shyly welcomed. I took many pictures, but one especially captured the gentle spirit of the villagers. Perfect for my 2011 calendar (September) I was creating! I returned to Guatemala (2011) and learned there was another Concepcion visit. Wonderful! I would present the villagers with their own calendar. It was an amazing experience: families crowded around their September picture, pointing, giggling, amid joyful shouts when they spied their faces. A  bridge of community, friendship and respect had been constructed.
  • 7. KAREN LEONARD
  • “In It Together”
  • LOCATION: Hoi An (Vietnam), 2009
  • STORY: Topical Storm Ketsana hit Hoi An in 2009. Whilst physically exhausting, the cleaning experience served to really bond all those who took part. It was a special experience and one to be remembered forever.
  • 8. SUSANNE LONG
  • “Connectivity”
  • LOCATION: Kalaw, Myanmar (Burma), 2010
  • STORY: I was sitting outside a pagoda in a small Burmese mountain town and a small group of young monks, interested to find out what I was doing, gathered round. I found a bicycle trick video taken from YouTube to show them. More monks started to appear until there was a group of eight or nine. They stayed with me until a bell rang when they thanked me and headed inside for lessons.
  • 9. SANDRA LONG
  • “Giving A Hands Up”
  • LOCATION: Punta Gorda farming village, (Belize), 2010
  • STORY: This Sustainable Harvest International project of building a more fuel efficient and health producing stove was a team project of volunteers and local families. After successful working together we enjoyed visiting over a family prepared traditional lunch. In addition, we educated about sustainable practices and planted cacao bushes, supporting a fledgling chocolate making industry as well as eliminating need to “slash and burn” forest cover. This was a life changing experience for my great grandson and myself as well as for the local farmers.
  • 10. ZACH MCDUFFIE
  • “O Gaucho”
  • LOCATION: Border of Brazil & Uruguay, 2011
  • STORY: This is a photo from the most remote trip I’ve taken to the border of Brazil and Uruguay, for a festival called Semana Faropilha, the largest gathering of gauchos every year. It was like stepping out of a time machine into the wild west era, except gauchos dress like a mix of cowboy and pirate. It was so rare for an American photographer to be there that they interviewed me on the farm radio and for the newspaper, and I was guest of honor at several of the gatherings I went to. This photo was taken of a gaucho at one of the parties. After taking the picture I joined him for a beer and he told me all about his gaucho life. .
  • 11. KATHY MORRIS
  • “On The Way To The Animal Market”
  • LOCATION: Otavalo, (Ecuador), 2000
  • STORY: As a teacher, I am touched by this young boy taking a calf to the weekly Animal Market in Otavalo Ecuador after-school . That day, I talked with many children in the market, working with relatives, selling goats, guinea pigs, chicken, etc.. The photo reminds me of life’s complexities for so many rural and indigenous children who balance education with other family responsibilities. The market itself is such a powerful site where community traditions are shared, not only through the goods of everyday life, but as a site where generations spend time together, sharing in each others’ daily lives.
  • 12. CHRIS SORENSEN
  • “Home Sweet Home”
  • LOCATION: Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 2012
  • STORY: I recently traveled to Cambodia to volunteer with Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC – www.eycambodia.org). I was invited to visit a student’s home located in a poor community on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.  The girl in the photo had been spending a lot of time taking care of her little brother. Just three days before this photo was taken, her mother gave birth to another child.  This little place is now home to 6 people.
  • 13. ROBERT WHITWORTH
  • “Openness”
  • LOCATION: Marble Mountain, Da Nang (Vietnam), 2011
  • STORY: For a few shorts hours each the morning a beam of light slowly moves across Huyen Khong cave nestled deep in Marble Mountain. A steady stream of domestic tourists, monks, foreign travellers and Buddhist worshippers make their visits throughout the day each taking away something different from the experience.

 


Bottom Line:

Funds raised from voters in our Positive Impact Photo Contest go directly to the non-profit Culture Xplorers Foundation. Created in 2007, the goal of the Culture Xplorers Foundation is to foster the sustainability of local culture in indigenous communities worldwide. Our positive impact partnerships focus on sustaining endangered traditions, strengthening education, fostering community-based travel and breaking the cycle of poverty through the support of comprehensive micro-loan and education programs.

The $500 prize for the winning photo is being sponsored by Culture Xplorers, LLC.