The sun rises in Tropeang Sdok and the crow of the early morning rooster gets lost among the sounds of the village waking up. What is going to be taught today at school, is not shown in the classrooms, but outdoors. On the fence, facing the path, a selection of photographs from Through Waters collection is hanging and a new intercultural exchange moment happens in Sorya: this time we change the oral and written language for the visual one. The views on water from international artists have come to the village and they capture the attention of the inhabitants, who stop to look at them while passing by in their regular doings.
The afternoon brings another ambience to the school: lots of children come to welcome iQlick Canon team, who is visiting the centre today ready to unveil the secrets of the photography world.
Once i-Qlick Canon crew has landed, we play some games to meet and learn each others’ names and, later, we enjoy a yummy meal in the garden, under the giant mango tree. As good as it gets.
Charged batteries, full stomachs, Dara, the photography workshop teacher, uncaps the surprises hidden behind the manual cameras for an attentive and motivated audience.
With the knowledge of the expert in the clicking finger, we make groups and we go to visit Phnom Chisor with a mission: get three shots which show the past, present and future of water in the region.
The point where we develop the activity offers one of the best sightseeings in Cambodia. On the top of Phnom Chisor hill, some preangkorian ruins preside a road with steep steps which go down until two temples, also previous to Angkor Empire, defining a path which, following some historians, reaches the same Siem Reap.
Quickly, the groups get organised to find the best locations and they start the photoacuatic adventure. We wouldn’t know to tell if the ones enjoying themselves more were the children, finding out more and more possibilities regarding the cameras while they show the wonders of Phnom Chisor to the visitors, or the grown-ups, discovering this amazing architectonic complex as they share their photo wisdom with the children.
Back to school, each group shares their photos and everybody enjoy printing the outcomes of their first day with the Selphy printers that i-Qlick Canon team has brought for everyone to take their artworks and memories home.
In the meantime, while the participants and the friends from i-Qlick Canon are in Phnom Chisor, a crowd gathers around the exhibition at school. We walk with them doing a guided tour in which questions start to fall down and multiply as the rain of a summer storm. It seems that no one in the village wants to take any doubts home, so we answer and comment among all the info that we have and the interpretations which come out.
It is curious how, when sharing topics as essential as water, we are all speakers of a unique speech, which is paradoxically peculiar and global. Today we see views of interest transforming in views of illusion, views of curiosity turning into views of admiration, views of suspicion becoming views of complicity. Today we have shared many different views reflecting that we are all the same.
Thank you very much to all the participants and facilitators who made this gathering become true: to the students, especially Sela, Nisey and Phary, to i-Qlick Canon team, from which we’d like to highlight Liwen, Sophin and Dara, the lady who sent the sandwiches and Camille, to Sorya team, and especially to Srey Neang, Mr. Ban, and his master chef wife, and, last but not least, thank you to María from UNESCO for coming to the field for a couple of days with us.
We hope that you all enjoyed our day together as much as we did, which was a lot!