All Photos were taken by and are the property of Tamara Lackey/Beautiful Together
Yesterday was a bad day at work. I began the day with a plan that never materialized because “things” kept happening and “things” needed to be done. By midday, I had planned to stay late, and after everyone left, I would sit quietly and undisturbed to complete all the things I needed to complete. I hoped that with everything done, I could be off on Friday. I realized at 4PM that If I’m wolfing down lunch now because I’m being called to take care of problem after problem, it’s very doubtful that I will begin doing “my work” anytime soon. By 5 PM my brain was mush. Even if I had the physical energy, mentally I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t concentrate the way I needed to accurately document in patients’ charts, and write discharge summaries and consults the way I needed to.
A little after 5 PM I packed up my things and walked to my car with the intent to go home and…and do what?
I was too tired to write, to edit, to retouch photos or any of the things I’m currently involved in that require brain power. So, I thought, may be instead of going home, I’d go to an open mic show, now my semi-usual Thursday night event, or I’d listen to music at a nearby tapas bar. When I looked at my calendar, I realized I had forgotten that 8/17 was the date of Tamara Lackey’s gallery exhibit to support Beautiful Together.
That would mean having to hop the train to NY, and to be honest, I didn’t think I had the energy, but I also knew this was a rare event, and so, I drove out of the parking lot to Penn Station, Newark and took the Path train to 14th St. A former commuter, I knew the Union Square Ballroom was a 2-block walk from the station.
I’ve always believed there’s a reason why you are where you at a certain time much the way I believe people come into your life for a reason though that reason may not immediately clear. I was meant to be at the Union Square Ballroom last night. It’s not where I wanted to be: I think it’s where God wanted me to be.
Tamara Lackey is a photographer, educator, writer, and the owner of a successful business: take a look at her website http://www.tamaralackey.com. Her photos are beautiful.
Tamara travels to Ethiopia several times a year to work with the organization she co-founded, Beautiful Together (www.beautifultogether.org), to support orphanages that care for children who otherwise would be left without food or shelter or clothing.
I can’t put into words what Beautiful Together is any better than the description Tamara and her husband Steve have written. Please read their words and the significance of what they and others are doing.
These are all Tamara’s photos—and they are beautifully rich in texture and depth. I can’t see how anyone who attended this exhibit could not have been moved by the images of beautiful children smiling and laughing…smiling and laughing because they are children and cannot conceive the dire circumstances in which they live their lives and that without the life sustaining orphanages and workers who feed and care for them their circumstances would be far worse. Workers make less than $50.00 a month helping to care for countless children.
Other photos in the gallery depict children bewildered, sad, tearful, and yes, sick. There were too many stories of children who had died of conditions that are easily treatable if those children had access to some level of appropriate healthcare.
We think we understand poverty. Imagine members of a village opposing movement of a dumping site from their village because the mountain of garbage gives them the opportunity to search for still-edible food and to find objects that they can possibly sell.
I could go on but I think you have to see the photos to grasp the unbelievable situations and circumstances in which these children and adults live day after day after day; yet, there is hope. Hope that comes from people like Tamara and Steve Lackey and the individuals and businesses that help support their efforts.
I’m asking you to help. There is an online auction at http://www.biddingowl.com/beautifultogether
from now until Monday, August 21st at 11:59 PM. Items up for bid include 3-day photographer’s workshop with Tamara Lackey, gift certificate for Creative Live videos, discounted conference registration fees for photography WPPI and Photo Expo Plus and many other valuable items.
Of course, you can make direct donations to the organization as well.
I stated two of my beliefs above; here’s a third: when you give of yourself willingly, you are rewarded in abundance. That reward is not always tangible, but it comes back to you in some way. Last night I purchased 2 tickets at the exhibit for $20.00 and won a $200.00 Creative Live gift certificate (I never win anything!!!). Twenty dollars is a small donation equal to a little more than the cost of breakfast and lunch at work.
When I invite people to donate to a cause, I usually say, do so if you can. I don’t mean to offend, but if you’re reading this, you’re doing it on a device that cost you a pretty penny and likely the monthly fees to go along with it. I’m not asking for a donation of that size or even a reasonable fraction. I’m asking for a few dollars because a few dollars from a few people who care can make the difference in providing food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education to many. We are a nation of more than 300 million people. If a third of us gave $1.00 to Beautiful Together, they would have $100 million dollars. Right now, Beautiful Together’s goals is to build an Orphan Prevention Care Center: the goal is to raise $16,500. I believe that if you are reading this, and you read more at http://www.beautifultogether.org, and you share and pass this on to family, friends, and followers, this goal and many more of Beautiful Together’s goals will be accomplished.
I looked at Tamara’s powerful images last night and they spoke to me: I know why I was there. At a later time I will share with you why I believe I was meant to be at that exhibit and to speak with her.
Lastly, I began by telling you I had a bad day at work. I hope the next time this thought comes to mind, I remember the images I saw last night, and I hope when you think the same about your day, you go to http://www.beautifultogether.org and realize that even on your the worst day and in your most dire circumstances, you live your life in abundance of wealth and opportunity that a child somewhere in this world cannot even begin to imagine.
All photographs taken by and are the property of Tamara Lackey/Beautiful Together