Colombia April 28, 2001
Memorial to leaders of Coopaz murdered in years past. The night I took
this photo armed men threw grenades in the office.
May 22, 2001
Spent my first week back in NY on my back unable to
move: vertebrae out of place, muscle spasms, a pinched nerve. I couldn't
move or stand up straight for 5 days. Finally a combination of muscle
relaxors, anti inflammatory drugs, ice packs and a chiropractor began
to give me some relief.
Then my bronchitis started up. Went for xrays. The
doc says he thinks it's allergies to pollen and to darkroom chemicals.
He advises against working in the darkroom. It's bad for my back and my
lungs. I wait two weeks to begin processing my film. The back aches come
back. The chiropractor says I have "nervous muscles."
My last day in Medellin I photographed a peace march.
Most of my images are of children in their school uniforms or cheerleaders
in skimpy costumes dancing. Everyone is trying so hard to have fun. But
you see the tension come and go in the kids faces.
A week after I got home I had an email from a friend
who works in the Ministry of Justice. While I was on the plane travelling
from Medellin to Bogota to NY-- struggling to sit comfortably with a pillow
behind my back--armed men took over the neighborhood I'd been photographing
earlier that day. They threw a couple of grenades in the office of a community
group I'd visited. Later that night six people were executed.
My heart is heavy for the people I know who are grieving. I am frustrated
to be missing a crucial moment in the story I've begun. I needed to come
home now. With my back as it is I couldn't have photographed anyway. I
read some poetry, meditate, try to let it go.
I write my friend an email. I ask her to tell everyone I am thinking of
them, that I will not forget them, I will return soon.