As I started packing for Peace Corps, assembling the essentials, a good friend of mine told me, “You’re not spending two years with that crappy point-and-shoot.” She strong-armed me into buying a better camera that I didn’t even know how to use. I owe her a lot.

This is one of my grade eight learners, Maria. We went on field trip with the school choir to the Ndebele king’s wedding. The choir waited around for hours to sing, but never got the chance. Instead, a few of my girls, Maria included, turned the experience into a photo shoot.

This is one of my grade eight learners, Maria. We went on field trip with the school choir to the Ndebele king’s wedding. The choir waited around for hours to sing, but never got the chance. Instead, a few of my girls, Maria included, turned the experience into a photo shoot.

Sometimes I think of this picture with the name A Gathering of Old Men. It’s a pretty typical sight in rural South Africa, seeing men sitting in a line, chatting and avoiding the sun.

Sometimes I think of this picture with the name A Gathering of Old Men. It’s a pretty typical sight in rural South Africa, seeing men sitting in a line, chatting and avoiding the sun.

Throughout my service, community members would ask, “Where is your camera?” or random disembodied voices would shout as I walked down the street with it, “Shoota me! Shoota me!” In some ways, being the community photographer opened me up to experiences I might have missed otherwise. My school never hesitated to send me out on school field trips, because I was responsible for documenting them.

The Mother Bear Project is run out of Minnesota. They send teddy bears to kids, so that they can have a toy that is completely their own and to provide emotional comfort. I gave them out to the kindergarteners at the elementary school, and this girl had particularly pretty smile.

The Mother Bear Project is run out of Minnesota. They send teddy bears to kids, so that they can have a toy that is completely their own and to provide emotional comfort. I gave them out to the kindergarteners at the elementary school, and this girl had particularly pretty smile.

This was also taken at the Ndebele king’s wedding. I have no idea why the man was wearing that mask, but it is pretty indicative of Peace Corps service. Sometimes you have no idea what is going on, but it’s interesting all the same…

This was also taken at the Ndebele king’s wedding. I have no idea why the man was wearing that mask, but it is pretty indicative of Peace Corps service. Sometimes you have no idea what is going on, but it’s interesting all the same…

I don’t have much to say about this picture. I think the visual does a lot of the talking.  

I don’t have much to say about this picture. I think the visual does a lot of the talking.  

As an education volunteer, my biggest pet peeve, the daily battle with my kids, was that “tarven” was not a word. Someone misspelled it once in the community, and it took off like wildfire. This picture is as much of my shopping complex and the typical sights surrounding it, as it is proof that no one ever spelled “tavern” correctly.  

As an education volunteer, my biggest pet peeve, the daily battle with my kids, was that “tarven” was not a word. Someone misspelled it once in the community, and it took off like wildfire. This picture is as much of my shopping complex and the typical sights surrounding it, as it is proof that no one ever spelled “tavern” correctly.  

In terms of my own interests, these pictures help me facilitate story-telling, taking me down new roads or back to familiar faces. When I talk to people back home who don’t completely understand what my experience in a township was like (but want to), many times having a visual clears the fog. For me, it keeps my site alive in my mind.

-  Eva Cappuccilli

Eva Cappuccilli is a Peace Corps volunteer serving in South Africa. She was the unit still photographer for Posh Corps. She currently serves in Cape Town with an HIV education non-profit. See more of her work on her blog, Stranded Traveller

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