Kikadini | The words of Viola Alastra
“Day two in Zanzibar. The first day I saw something that affected me emotionally. We decide to visit the primary school and kindergarten.
I must admit that my first thought was ‘how embarrassing!’.
When I entered the school, the children were shouting and playing with each other, greeting me joyfully. I stand outside the classroom or on the doorstep and take a few photographs, remaining outside, trying to keep myself at a distance. I chatted with the manager, saw her office and the register, and later entered a classroom.
Immediately I felt really out of place and uneasy… all the children were looking at me and greeting me and I was so nervous. I went to the back of the class and started talking with a group of girls between 10 and 12 years old. I asked them their names, and they started giggling and saying false names. I felt increasingly embarrassed even though I tried to loosen up and be as quiet as possible so that they can be more relaxed in turn.
I ask permission to take pictures and they pose for me, also slightly embarrassed at first… I show them the pictures right away and they start laughing with amusement. It had become a game.
They start to open up to me and I finally feel more comfortable too.
At that moment, when I have relaxed slightly, I am swept up in their whirlwind of emotions and impetus by taking pictures of each of these little girls to entertain them. They throw themselves on top of each other trying to hide, and then come back to ask to see the photographs taken.
I feel good and overwhelmed. I have to admit that at one point I even felt a little dazed. One of these girls asks me how the camera works with gestures. I show it to her, and she tries to take a picture of one of her companions. She was so happy that she was jumping for joy. I have never seen such happiness and joy in someone’s eyes.
Back home, I looked at the photos with Gabriel, even the one taken by the girl, which framed the wall and a piece of her companion’s head. At first glance I thought damn it’s a pity, a beautiful photo could have come out, but then thinking about it I realized that was the most true and beautiful photo ever.”
VIOLA ALASTRA, a young photographer from Monza with aspirations of becoming a photojournalist, is among the participants of the Reportage Training Camp in Jambiani.