PROJECT UPDATE:
The Island of Widows
Dear Supporters,
 

I have just returned from two weeks in Nicaragua continuing my work on the kidney disease (CKDu) epidemic ravaging Central American communities. Working in collaboration with the talented young filmmaker Jessey Dearing, who works with my wife, Julie Winokur, at Talking Eyes Media, we returned with a treasure trove of footage, and I couldn't have done it without the support you gave me through IndieVoices.

 

We witnessed numerous funeral processions throughout the town of Chichigalpa, and were given access to document the wake of a 38-year-old worker who had died that morning. For the first time, we were able to gain access to photograph cane workers toiling in the fields and conduct interviews with a representative of the sugar cane company.

  

Combining the new material with the work from my previous two trips, we will now produce a short documentary film (expected to be released this summer), along with two series of still photographs; one set containing portraits of the individuals and families impacted by CKDu, and the other a set of documentary images. I expect both bodies of work to be up on the VII website within a couple of weeks.


Towards the end of this trip I was standing in the middle of what looked like a refugee camp, with thrown together shacks of wood and tarp, tin roofs for the lucky ones, a communal spigot for water, no sewage, etc. And then it hit me...these folks who live here are working 12 hour days 5-6 days a week! It's disgraceful, and a resounding reminder that it's critical to continue this work to help make a change in the lives of these workers.

 

All of this is in the effort to not only raise awareness about this issue, but to help build support to find the cause of this disease and then to implement a solution. And above all, the goal is to find a way to provide care for the thousands of families and individuals coping with the impact of this epidemic.

 

It is heartening to see this issue gaining momentum in the media. The NY Times recently ran a detailed article on the topic of kidney disease in Nicaragua and NPR aired a public health broadcast on the issue, featuring one of my images. Furthermore, I was honored with the opportunity to inaugurate the Open Society Foundations' Instagram feed last week, with a selection of images from my most recent trip. 

Thank you again for your support, which helped me to create this body of work. I will keep you posted as the post-production on the film progresses and my photographs continue to be disseminated.

  

Best Regards,

  

Ed

studio@edkashi.com