Nepal - Humanitarian Photography Workshop Becomes More than an Adventure from The Pioneer Issue

Celebrating the New Year often lends itself to well-intentioned goal setting and resolutions - all focused on ourselves. While we believe self care is important as we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others, sometimes we can forget the second part of the idea - caring for others. This year, we wanted to start our 2016 journal entries with something focused on exactly this. 

Pulled from The Pioneer Issue, now on news stands, this story and imagery by Jessica Parker of Jessica's Photography takes us to Nepal where her experience with The Beyond Workshop became so much more than just a photography workshop. 

When I graduated from college in 2007, I started to travel, and I got addicted and somehow Nepal was placed on my bucket list of places to go before I turn 30.  I didn't know much about the country, but the people, the colors, the food and the mountains were calling my name.  

On February 27th I boarded a plane to Nepal for three weeks. I never thought that I would ever make it to Nepal. It had been one of my goals for nearly 10 years. In December I saw a post on Instagram for a photography workshop that was part styled wedding shoots, part documentary photography and humanitarian work. I had never heard of the photographers that were putting it on, but as soon as I saw this post, I knew that I was suppose to go. I waited a couple of days to decide if it was really right for me to go, and I prayed sincerely on Saturday night if I should go or not.

The next day we had to speak in church. The couple that spoke with us answered my prayer. The man who spoke talked about his experience in Nepal… As soon as he said Nepal, I turned to my husband Cole and said, “There is my answer.” Who talks about Nepal? Who has actually been to Nepal? It was as clear as could be, and everything else lined up perfectly for me to make this trip. Nina and Wes Photography hosted The Beyond Workshop and it was an experience that I will never forget.

On April 25th, 2015, just five weeks after I came home, Nepal was hit with a devastating 7.8 earthquake and the death toll, well over 5,000 people. As I have watched the coverage of this devastation, I can’t stop thinking of all of the people that I came in contact with. I have been in touch with many of them through Facebook. They are terrified, scared and many have lost their homes. I was at a loss at what to do for them, words can not help the dire circumstances that they are facing.

In May I celebrated 10 years of businesses, and wanted to do something, so I hosted a silent auction for the people of Nepal. Even though it’s small compared to the devastation, every small act of kindness counts. Now months later, these people still hold my heart. By sharing these images from my experience, it is my honor to introduce you to the amazing, kind and resilient friends I made on my adventure.

Read more in The Pioneer Issue, now at Barnes & Noble.