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kiota and Cambodia

For me what most vividly live on are her dreams of creativity and of helping.

This icon is a photo she took from the window of a jetliner while she was flying over Europe, she tells us that she is looking beyond the rainclouds.

This weekend she will have been gone two years. She was involved in planning her trip to Cambodia and in making videos of local street people in her college town, as well as filling her gallery with still photographs.

In January 2008 she wrote:

"This summer I hope to travel to Cambodia, to volunteer with children and do street / documentary photography... for 2 - 3 weeks. Even just a couple weeks of volunteering can transform orphanages, inspire children to continue their eudcation, get children off the streets and away from drugs and prostitution, and more. I plan to sell and exhibit my photography, and thus raise awareness of human rights abuses and the poverty in CAmbodia. I'm planning on a carer in photography and social work, so this opportunity is perfect for me."

Partly as a result of a professional portfolio review, she was accepted onto a 20-student photography team sponsored by United Planet of Boston; each day the team members would meet to share their new, on-site photography, and to discuss techniques and other aspects. One of the subjects was Angkor Wat, the massive Buddhist temple complex built over more than a hundred years ending about 1290 and which offers magnificent opportunites for photography. Another of the subjects was children living on the streets, and another part of each day would be spent volunteering at an orphanage helping out with counseling, health issues, and learning English as a second language, among others.

This project would have earned her college credit, and exhibitions of her work were being planned after her return.

She was very eager to have the chance to create new work -and- share ideas, daily, with other photographers who were also students. There were not many opportunites for that, which came her way, at school.

And that all was scheduled for June and July, 2008.

Her place on the team was taken by an alternate, and ways were found to send the funds for her trip directly to the orphanage. In the orphanage, four of the kids she helped returned thanks:

Also funds were sent to her alternative school in Israel, where she had studied in preparation to take American college entrance exams, successfully: "inspire children to continue their education."

Just a few days ago here in den Haag there was a film festival called "Movies That Matter", and one of them was Guy Jacobson's film "Redlight". Somaly Mam, the Cambodian native and internationally-known child rights activist, appears in the film and was present at the screening to answer questions about her Foundation, which over the years has taken some 6,000 orphans off the streets and out of exploitation rings, given them a place to live and vocational training, and a start to a new life. Kiota's orphanage is nowhere near this large, but it is doing valuable work as one of a host of smaller ones in the area.

Meeting Somaly Mam and Guy, who happens to be Israeli, was an awesome expereience. And going to Cambodia through his camera lenses. It was like an immersion.

Somaly looked directly into our audience, at one point, and said: "Each one of you in this room can do something."

Kiota also wrote me "I really hope I'm able to mentor kids in Cambodia, in the sense that I see mentoring, which is like being a big brother / sister to someone, or like a trusted teacher... in the same way that I can mentor kids online."

And she had mentored survivors online for years, in many countries, through sites such as TeenHelp, while she was with us. Including through LiveJournal, touching many Friends who will read this.

Beyond this, she also left us poetry and short stories; one of my favorites is from 2002:



it's cold, but I feel no chill
wet, but I feel no water
everything moves like a dream

The bubbles rise
slow motion
i could stay down here forever
hypnotized by water

i bring my head over, above
sudden rush of noise
a vacuum

sucking up

so many birght colors


*** **

"ïnspired by scuba diving in Eilat." On a vacation...

Kiota's images still shine,
her words are still heard,
her love is still felt.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 8th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
I wondered why I have been feeling such great sadness all week. This post reminded me why. I'm crying now as I write this and it feels good in only the way crying can. I miss Anna so much, thank you for posting in memory of her. I can't believe it's been 2 years already.
Apr. 10th, 2010 11:46 am (UTC)
This is the memorial kala_ayule built for her at the time. It's still just as bright.

Two years goes quickly, but that's just the way -we- count time, not how she does now. In your heart, she can be as timeless as you wish to allow her to be...

We all have our different Kiotas, I'm sure, to treasure the personal memories as well as the pain. And you are not crying alone :(
Apr. 8th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
Been thinking about her so much lately.
Apr. 10th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
Loving the wind in your icon: I always have. Also the strength of standing against its powers...

These flowers have bloomed many times over since she made this photo and shared it with us. And the picture says that to me as well as all the beauty in the color: it all returns again and again.

Hoping that your thoughts might give you some peace and comfort and closure as well as sadness. In my own life, anyway, that is how we walk together these days...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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