sábado, 29 de noviembre de 2008

Pretzels and photos

I made pretzels with my 7th grade ESL students the other day. Since they had never heard of them before, it was completely fine that we didn't have pretzel salt and the oven and yeast weren't really working. They had a lot of fun covering their hands with flour and twisting the dough into shape, and so long as the final result was warm fresh-baked goodness, I think everyone would have been happy.

A volunteer who is making a video about our school was one of several folks to walk in the kitchen as we were pretzeling, and she asked to take some footage, which was definitely a lot of fun. I also had my camera and had taken a few shots of dough and smiles.

Then I thought about pictures. That decision that, yes, this moment is worth capturing and sharing with others. I remembered a conversation I overheard between a student inviting a volunteer to climb a strangler fig a short walk from school, and she replied, no, I don't have my camera. Like it wasn't worth the trip if you couldn't document the experience. Which is clearly silly.

I think of all of the moments that are just as—and often more—important than students posing with pretzel dough. Like Beatriz's look of concentration as she described the super strong wind with her growing English skills, retelling how she saw a bird thrown against the 'Perro Negro' hill coming from school. And her smile when she was through and could see that I understood her meaning. Or Luis and Freddy wrestling each other to the ground to reenact a bear catching a fish in a story we read. Or Anna standing on a chair and singing 'All I Want for Christmas is You' into her hairbrush to cheer up a friend. Or one of many stray dogs that came into the bar/lounge Moon Shiva and fell asleep on Bethany's lap. Those moments I wouldn´t want to interrupt by taking out my camera or happen when I´m not carrying it, but I often wish I could blink my eyes and have them work like the shutter of a camera so that I could share the things I see with others.

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