A Journey in Photos | January 31st - February 12th, 2016
I feel extremely grateful to be able to pursue my art full-time. This business (Photos By Kintz), whereby Bobby and I document the lives of our clients, is much for than a way to make a living. It is a lifestyle. One that gives me freedom to pursue goals that do not feed the bank account, but rather the soul.
Since 2011, I have been a volunteer with Clowns Without Borders, an international non-profit offering laughter to relieve the suffering of children living in areas of crisis. I am honored to be among the ranks of other professional performers, who volunteer their time to spread joy, love, and laughter. I have traveled to Indonesia and Haiti, and most recently to Greece.
In February, I spent two weeks on the Greek island of Lesvos, where refugee populations from the Middle East, are fleeing in rubber boats, in hopes of saving their lives. Their stories are heartbreaking, but their resilience is inspiring. Many people ask, why are they coming here? I often direct people to THIS VIDEO, that shows a broken and war-torn Syria. If you have 1 minute to spare, this will quickly answer your question.
The complexity of the refugee crisis is so difficult to put into words. As I followed the news stories here at home, I felt a strong pull for a deeper involvement. I wanted to meet these people myself. I wanted to look into their eyes and connect with them, if only for a few brief moments. More than anything, I wanted the opportunity to say I was there, and that my opinion of the crisis was informed out of direct contact, not what the media wanted me to believe.
I was granted that opportunity, and I encourage you to read more about it on the Clowns Without Borders website, where I, and other team members have written blogs describing the experience.
But here, I wanted to share more in photographs. These images show the landscape of Greece, a country marked by its stunning beauty. They show the clowns, who came to bring joy and love They show the people we met along the way, friends who kept us going. They show the faces of these beautiful people that we callously call refugees. They are not people to be feared, but rather embraced and heard.
I ask you, (as you are likely reading this on an Apple device), would this country be better off without Steve Jobs? His father came here as a Syrian refugee.
My heart is with the children, who had no choice in becoming part of this crisis. I work with children very regularly, and these children are some of the kindest, most respectful, and loving children I have met. They have an enormous capacity for joy and play, which I find remarkable, given what they have been through.They inspire me.
To all of them and their families, I say "Shukran" (Thank You), for letting me be a small part of your journey. I carry you in my heart. I think of you every day and wish you safe passage.
To the people of Lesvos, I am in awe of your graciousness and tenacity. You are truly a God-like people.
To the journalists and documentarians, who made an impactful mark on our odyssey, I am grateful to know each of you.
To my team, I miss you and love you all.
Want to learn more about this project? Listen to THIS amazing radio documentary by our friends at Wolfgang Radio.
Story by: Kolleen Kintz
Photos by: Kolleen Kintz, Tamara Palmer, and Jan Damm