Banaras: Walks through India’s Sacred City

Hello fellow readers; a quick note to share some exciting news! During my time in India, I met Nandini Majumdar while doing volunteer work at Nirman: a local non-profit helping educate children. At the time, she was working on a travel book centered around walking tours of Banaras; she mentioned she was in need of photography for the book, so I had the honor of...

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Faces of India

After my trip through Nicaragua, I put together a collection of the portraits of the people I met; in that same spirit, I offer a blog post of the faces of India. Thanks to my companion Derek, I had both the pleasure of meeting many wonderful people as well as the opportunity to capture a little piece of their lives. I guess, in the end, I was just as fascinated by...

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CKD

Recent reports have described an apparent epidemic of CKD along the Pacific coast of Central America, such that CKD is a leading cause of death among working-age men in lower-altitude agricultural communities in this region. Given the limited availability of kidney replacement therapies in this region, CKD often is a terminal diagnosis, lending greater urgency to the identification of a modifiable cause. This article discusses the epidemiology of CKD in this region, reviews the clinical features of this CKD outbreak...

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Box people of India

As I continue to go through my images from India, I put together little collections like this one here. India, is cramped for space; people end up putting little stands at every nook and cranny, selling all sorts of things from chips, to coconuts, to flowers and prayer necklaces. I found it amazing to see how many things they could fit in there; all of these images were taken while in Varanasi

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Kaushambi School Children

I spent a day visiting the schools in the city of Kaushambi, India. Of course, with my presence, all the school children would begin stirring like a busy hive of bees full of excitement about their new, foreign visitor. Especially in the dimly lit schools, I had a lot of trouble getting the school children to sit still long enough for my longer shutter speeds. Eventually, I just towered over them and took their portraits as they starred straight up into my camera. Enjoy.

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Alley Lights in Varanasi

It was an eery sensation, to know that you were surrounded by so many people, that you could hear them all around you, but that you couldn't see a single one; your only companion in that moment being the fluorescent bulbs casting a cool glow on the surrounding walls. It was in that moment that I tried to find that same moment again, and so I set out the rest of the evening capturing the following.

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India Travel Guide

I spent two months in Northern India; this post is meant as a sort of travel guide for India based on my experiences. I write, sort of, because I'm not going to tell you where to travel, which hotels to stay in or which restaurant has the best curry; rather, Ill be offering some pointers that might make your time in India a little easier regarding your health and how to get prepared. Clearly, this is no end all be all, and I hope to generalize/stereotype the least as possible.

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Ritu: learning how to read

Text by guest author Derek Treatman; images by Constantino Schillebeeckx. “Everyone wants an education. You think I didn’t? I wanted to go to school, but what happened was someone got sick. ‘Go take care of them,’ I’m told. This person, then another, then another. No one says to themselves, ‘I don’t want an...

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New Portfolio & New Website

It's been almost two months since my last blog post; for those that have been following closely, you know that I spent March & April traveling through India and Nepal.

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Nyatapola Guest House Bhaktapur Nepal

The Nyatapola Guest House has a home stay feel with its six well-furnished rooms an upstairs kitchen where you can find the family cooking and eating and a rooftop terrace where you can catch local families living out their lives and see snow-caped mountains on a clear day. Two room sizes are available: single - which offers room for three people in a double and single bed, and double - a larger sized room fit for two couples in two double beds.

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The Old Man and the Quail

I met him, dressed in white from head to toe, sitting inside the single-roomed, street-side tea shop of his son, the chaiwala, Parvej. There is a profound calm to him, a stark contrast to the hellishly-hectic market street just outside the shop.

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Chaiwala

Often times you don't know that someone has touched you until the moment you tell them goodbye. For the few days I knew them, Parvej was my chaiwala, his father, my stoop companion. We had but few words we could say to each other, but with hand gestures and head wobbles we understood each other.

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The Creation of Ganesh

I was recently moved by someone to get a painting of Ganesh the elephant-headed Hindu god; immediately, I knew who I had to go to. Pyreula is a laundry man by trade, but has been doing water-colors for the last 17 years.

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Working through India Hospitality

I suppose sometimes, with the challenges you face in volunteer work, you have to swallow your priorities and adjust yourself even more in order to make the best of the situation at hand.  Isn't that after all why we travel abroad?

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Empowering Women through Mobile Technology and Education

The ASHA program offers a lot in the way of empowering women and gives many opportunities to village women, but I think it is valuable to note that although the program offers prestige in the larger community, it may not always translate to empowerment in the home.

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CommCare Field Visit Kaushambi

This young girl, aged 22, is pregnant with her first child and is answering questions posed to her by the local ASHA as well as by CommCare, a health care questionnaire given through a mobile phone.

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Varanasi Panorama

Benares (Varanasi) was not a disappointment. It justified its reputation as a curiosity. It is on high ground, and overhangs a grand curve in the Ganges. It is a vast mass of building, compactly crusting a hill, and is cloven in all directions by an intricate confusion of cracks which stand for streets. Tall, slim minarets and beflagged temple-spires rise out of it and give it a picturesqueness, viewed from the river.

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Manjhanpur, Kaushambi

I'm finally doing work in the field, albeit slowly and with waning patience; Manjhanpur, in contrast to Varanasi, is split 40/60 between Muslims and Hindus. It's fascinating to be in a place where both exist seamlessly. Internet is horrendously slow, so I'm only able to offer one image; enjoy.

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Varanasi Open Hand Cafe

Sitting in the Varanasi Open Hand Cafe, indulging in espresso and creamy cheesecake one might very easily imagine himself somewhere in Europe or the west village of New York. The pastries are fresh, the coffee comes in a large mug and the clientelle are nearly all european. However, the blaring midday sun and noise from honking horns pour in over the second floor balcony as a reminder that this is indeed India. Rhyne de Bruin, a South African native, runs one of Varanasi's premier cafes on Assi Ghat which boasts not only a wide selection of barista quality coffees but artisanal handcrafts from Varanasi locals.

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Varanasi from the River Ganges

My first post from India, yes I am indeed alive after a brief battle with heat exhaustion; now I'm finally up and running, fully recharged with plenty of electrolytes and ready to start photographing the sites around me. I decided one morning to take an early (5 a.m.) boat ride to see Varanasi from the River Ganges along with an Israeli documentary film maker I had met the day before.

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