I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve refreshed the page already, just to get the same message again: “delivery attempt failed.” This can’t be happening. That package has not only photo prints and negatives but also Maria Luisa’s favorite photos, the ones she had selected for me to print for her and that I swore she’d receive that Saturday.
I had the pleasure of meeting her and 13 others from the Nicoyan Association of People with Disabilities (ASONIPED for its Spanish acronym) in September when, after months of planning, we were able to safely hold the first “Inclusive Photography Workshop: Discover the art in you with one click.”
It’s not well known in our country, but it has been documented that photography is a powerful support tool in learning processes, especially when it comes to marginalized communities. That’s how the Literacy Through Photography (LTP) program has encouraged hundreds of children in other countries to explore the world through a camera viewfinder, using this art as a means to improve their verbal and written expression.
As I check on the shipment again, with the same result, I wonder how a brown shoe box weighing almost two kilos (more than 4 pounds) that I wrapped with so much duct tape that it shines can get lost. With no response from Correos de Costa Rica, the country’s mail service resigned now, I resorted to leaving my last rant on social networks, labeling Correos as the company who stole Christmas. At any rate, it’s December and the package should have been in Nicoya by now. The items inside it were supposed to have a leading role in the Association’s final activity of the period on Saturday, December 12.
The box didn’t just hold photos. We also gave each workshop participant a small notebook with their name on it and a disposable camera so they could make a photographic diary with its 27 exposures. Prints of the images they captured were also being returned in the box. Their stories were in these diaries, but now like messages in a bottle lost at sea, who knew where they were.
The beauty of these workshops is that participants are given the opportunity to lose the fear of exploring a little and they have a tool that allows them to express themselves.” -Guillermo Barquero, photographer.
Thanks to the diaries, I was able to see and understand how much Alberth treasures the corner where the succulents are, which belonged to his little sister who is dead now; Juan’s love for his grandfather and for the river that runs near his house; and how much Ashly likes going places; dozens of moments that give a glimpse of life from their perspective, a pure art without poses or influences.
I didn’t know what else to say to Patricia, ASONIPED’s administrator, who also complained to the Nicoya branch about the box getting lost. Used to facing hundreds of obstacles in her efforts to raise awareness about her boys and girls, she told me not to worry. She’d tell them that we’d postpone the activity until next year.
The unthinkable happened late Friday afternoon. Correos de Costa Rica had read my complaint and a few minutes later, I was on the phone with Giovanni from the logistics department, who recognized the mistake made and dedicated himself to locating the shoe box and sending it that same night so that it could be picked up at 8 a.m. on Saturday… and that’s how it happened, like a Christmas miracle!
When I see the photos from the workshop, I think that each person should think about what they can do to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in every aspect of society. All they ask for is an opportunity to demonstrate what they’re capable of.
Let’s keep in mind that according to the National Survey on Disability (2018), 18% of people over the age of 18 in the country have a disability, of whom 61% are women and 39% are men. Let’s not lose out on the value they can add to our country.
These are some of the photos taken by the workshop participants: