Patricia Garamendi's (Ethiopia 1966-68) 'Heads Up' About Living On A Dollar A Day

Patricia Garamendi (Ethiopia 1966-68) has brought to my attention a fascinating new book that anyone who served in the Peace Corps might find of value. The book Living On A Dollar A Day:  The Lives And Faces Of the World’s Poor was written by Thomas A. Nazario, with photographs by Renée C. Byer.download

The book features 215 images bvRenée C. Byer and has a forward by the Dalai Lama.  David Griffin the former director of photography at National Geographic helped photo edit and designed the book which recently was awarded 1st prize documentary book award at IPA (International Photography Awards.)

Writer Thomas A. Nazario is the founder and president of The Forgotten International, a nonprofit organization that does poverty alleviation work in several parts of the world.

Renée C. Byer is an American documentary photojournalist best known for her in-depth work focusing on the disadvantaged and those who otherwise would not be heard. She earned a Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 2007 and made her a Pulitzer finalist in 2013.

Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento will have an exhibit of Living on a Dollar a Day, February 11th through March 7th, 2015 at its J Street gallery (2015 J Street, Sacramento).  On February 14, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm there will be an opening reception.

To do the book, Byer took a leave of absence from her job as a senior photojournalist for the Sacramento Bee and traveled to 10 countries through four continents over the course of two years. “My work as a photojournalist is usually on an intimate scale through a connection with my subjects,” she explains. “I didn’t have that luxury with this project. I had to work through interpreters or social workers, I would have to get into the country and really explain to them my photography: how I work, how I want stories to unfold, that I don’t want to interrupt people’s patterns and that the dignity of my subjects is paramount.”

After focusing for many years on the difficulties of the working class throughout America, Byer felt it was time to turn her attention to the world and bring the images and message closer to home. “Some pictures are agonizingly painful to look at, but I was conscious to make them in a way that people could imagine themselves in the scene. That was the challenge to ask people to step into the photograph, could they live in these circumstances?” said Byer. “My question is could you live in these circumstances, and if you couldn’t, why wouldn’t you want to help?”

Children Helping Children:

Vishal Singh, 6, cares for a baby girl while her mother is away in the Kusum Pahari slum in south Delhi, India. (Photograph ©Renée C. Byer)

Vishal Singh, 6, cares for a baby girl while her mother is away in the Kusum Pahari slum in south Delhi, India. (Photograph ©Renée C. Byer)

Seeking Shelter in Ghana:

Known as "Little Cowboys," in their Ghanaian village Tibetob Gmafu, 5, left, Bidimei Gmafu, 5, center,  Dawuni Bisun, 7, upper right, and Ninankor Gmafu, 6, below, seek cover from the rain as they keep a watchful eye on cows they were herding. (Photograph ©Renée C. Byer)

Known as "Little Cowboys," in their Ghanaian village Tibetob Gmafu, 5, left, Bidimei Gmafu, 5, center, Dawuni Bisun, 7, upper right, and Ninankor Gmafu, 6, below, seek cover from the rain as they keep a watchful eye on cows they were herding. (Photograph ©Renée C. Byer)

Working to Survive:

In an e-waste dump that kills nearly everything that it touches, Fati, 8, works with other children searching through hazardous waste in hopes of finding whatever she can to exchange for pennies in order to survive.  (Photograph ©Renée C. Byer)

In an e-waste dump that kills nearly everything that it touches, Fati, 8, works with other children searching through hazardous waste in hopes of finding whatever she can to exchange for pennies in order to survive. (Photograph ©Renée C. Byer)

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  • GLASSY AND SWIFT WORDS
    The sycamore tree wants no rent strikes.
    The rivers are crowded,
    the bottoms are flooded,
    trees dip their branches.
    Large life has narrowed.
    Spring dreams hatch new desires
    whirring against blue sky.
    Fierce winter comes
    and in its ices, I see old faces.
    There are still state lotteries
    and taxes on salt;
    hospitals open all night;
    food’s preserved and contaminated;
    we see paintings without faces
    and genitals larger than lust,
    though there are vines in the lupine
    and light booms in the surf.
    There’ll be no new city.
    Even dragon’s teeth rot when planted.
    She’s dead or anonymous with him,
    vice-versa.
    In the marketplace
    It is decreed.
    The gardenia raves,
    mad before extinction.
    Beaver squeezes dry nipples.
    An unveined eye squats, accepts.
    In the nights of clothed windows,
    at the edge of the hissing ocean,
    the napalm carriageway
    that brought in 1908
    a male blue whale, very heavy,
    captured killed:
    odor of decay in tender flesh.
    Sirens rage and without warning
    my embittered heart breaks
    through honeyed lips.
    In this garden
    no birds sing.
    While out on the streets
    our lives come out in words.
    Rewards for failure.
    Jails for arrogance.
    All artists are outlaws.
    Real art is revolting.
    They will forgive us
    If we are ineffective.
    I am the eye,
    but I am not I living
    inside the belly
    of the monster as the belly
    of the monster brutalizing
    brutalized in my, by my
    lifetime.
    There is no center
    but only process.
    Beauty may be the red petal
    Orlando found pressed
    in the leaves of art
    through the ages, and the tension
    between revolt and reflection
    All rot, earth inheriting everyone.
    Suns slam down days,
    muting, rotting.
    Wolf and calf may fart together
    In another world.
    Blue crystal acid remains.
    It is not reciprocated.
    The dye has no music in it.

    ©EDWARD MYCUE January 11, 2015 SAN FRANCISCO

  • Thanks Pattie, what I would suggest that we make this beautiful book part of every Trainee ‘ s must read material. Like the “book locker” of the 60’s, this book would open doors to the new Volunteers!

  • Bob,
    What a great idea. Does anyone know if Trainees are give a book list prior to leaving? And, if so, what books are on the list?
    and if not, what other suggestions would RPCVs have for such a list?

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