Of the long list of things that Dog Meets World is thankful for….Barbara Gilbert is high on the list. Indefatigable, she’s a three time practicing phoDOGrapher, took Foto and Dog Meets World on a incredibly poignant return to the village in Jamaica that bears her name. Accompanying her again was her 84 year old mother and her son, Steven Walker, on his first visit back to the Caribbean island since having both of his legs and both of his hands amputated due to a rare, awful bacterial infection last spring. YES, imagine your child losing his hands and his legs and you continue to bring comfort to others in Jamaica! Read her recounting of her trip….
On my annual mission trip to visit the poor of Jamaica traveling with Food For the Poor I visited the personal projects I have raised funding for, in addition to working with the poor at other locations. Each year I do the Dog Meets World project at a different location with the children. Foto, the mascot stuffed dog is always an instant hit, as is the actual printing of the pictures. This year was no different.
Foto’s special day was spent in a very poor village, where all the children live in shacks. The day was spent building a house in the village for a single mother with 3 daughters, who had lost her home in another village 2 years ago in a fire. With the help of donors to Food for the Poor, funds were raised to build and furnish her a new home for her family. Foto was a part of the house building project every step of the way. We built the house in one day. All the children from the village and many adults came to watch. The children were all introduced to Foto and were a part of my construction crew. We nailed and painted and Foto supervised and posed for pictures with the children and new home owner. We even put Foto in a plastic glove for painting! Everyone wanted their picture taken with Foto, from kids, to teens, to family pictures. For the new home owner I made her a photo album of pictures from the entire day, all with Foto, as her new home was being built-my gift to her. Many memories were made that day and Foto and DMW were there to record it all as a keepsake for life. The children and families in the village will have their pictures in their shacks, showing their huge smiles on this special day.
Phodographer Barbara Gilbert at Barbaras Village, Jamaica, 2011
It was my 2nd journey to Jamaica as a DMW phodographer. Like last year the poor in the villages were very excited about the printing project. This year I did Dog Meets World at the site of my school on construction day, which has been a 3 year project in the works. Funding was completed a few weeks before my annual trip (my 8th) and Food For the Poor surprised me with the news when we arrived on the site that we were building my school this trip! Day 1, I met the children who were attending summer school (6 of them ages 2-6) and the picture taking began, but I did not have Max (Foto is called Max by the children in this project!) with me. We built the entire school that day! On Day 2 we returned to paint the school-yellow-the color of all my Jamaican projects.
On Day 2, I arrived with Max (Foto the dog) and the printer. We took individual school pictures of each student to print and take home. We took the class picture which the principal and teacher received copies of for the school office. The nicely dressed lady in the photo arrived at the school site and asked for me. She said she had been told we were taking pictures and she had never had her picture taken. She had dressed up for the event and was very excited. As she was walking to work, we only had time to snap the picture and I printed it up later, with the help of the kids to be given to her. The children and principal were fascinated with the printer and the kids enjoyed pushing the buttons. As the picture is printed in a series of colors the children called out the colors as it printed, thus it became a learning project. The children who attend this school all live in shacks with no electricity, bathroom or kitchen. It is an extremely poor community.
Phodographer Barbara Gilbert in Barbara’s Village, Jamaica, August 2010
We are proud to call Barbara a phoDOGrapher for Dog Meets World. Barbara describes herself, “I am an unstoppable, passionate 55 year old single mother of 4 grown children and 7 dogs. I am currently a graduate student completing my MSW. I am the creator of AdvocacyforHope.com, with the mission to connect people with my one woman projects in Jamaica. Partnering with Food for the Poor, I have raised funds for housing in Jamaica, resulting in a community called Barbara’s Village, Jamaica. I am an example an ordinary person can make a difference, as I am a voice for the poor of Jamaica, a lifetime commitment.”
Phodographer Barbara Gilbert in Jamaica, August 2010
Barbara Gilbert, was a 2009 semifinalist in a national contest sponsored by CVS/pharmacy to recognize those that care and appeared on Good Morning America. She recently visited the Village that she started. She received approval from Food for the Poor to make Dog Meets World as part of her trip at 2 stops, Barbara’s Village and Alpha Boys Home. Barbara wrote “So after lunch I pulled out the little dog and the printer. The children were immediately curious and excited. The adults seemed rather bored with the whole idea, but that did not last long. As soon as the pictures began to print out, they joined the crowd of kids around the printer and by the end of the day, everyone in the village, including the oldest resident, grandpa shown above, had to have their picture taken with the little dog! “
Phodographer Barbara Gilbert near Kingston Jamaica, August 2010
Remarkable Barbara Gilbert, who started what has become “Barbara’s Village” in Jamaica. She visited recently with Dog Meets World to bring the photo project to her beloved villagers! Barbara describes Dog Meets World to others:
The project is basically to link kids in 3rd world countries through photography, using a little dog (who is in all the pictures) and a portable printer so the pictures can be printed on site. This project was inspired by my Barbaras Village project, which inspired yet one other person, Carolyn, that one person can make a difference. Carolyn took her passion for photography and started this project. She contacted me, our initial meeting over a year ago, to introduce me to the project which I fell in love with. When she told me there were no Jamaican pictures, I immediately came on!!
Best Foto of the Week!
Praise for DMW
"Participating in Dog Meets World was a truly magical experience, bringing joy and wonderment to all I met."
John Carr, Phodographer across South America
"Dog Meets World unleashes the power of photography as a diplomatic and personal tool in building connections among the people of the world. It embeds a memory in photographer and subject alike."
Prof. Patrick Fleming, Fulbright scholar & Phodographer Cambodia & Kyrgzystan
"You will never know just how important that photo will be long after it is taken and given."
Delores Barr Weaver, co-owner Jacksonville Jaguars
"Dog Meets World went over fabulously in my village. It is a perfect option for Peace Corps volunteers like myself. I like the Foto dog mascot, kids like it, and it is a representation of the peace and the ideas of the project."
Kristen Woodruff, Phodographer Costa Rica
"The kids are absolutely loving Dog Meets World. For a majority, these were the first images of themselves that they have ever owned."
Marti Johnson, Phodographer Uganda