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Watts of Love
Group photograph of each bride and groom on their wedding day. Ilin Island 2013. Thank you to all who donated money and time to make this moment happen. #single
This little portable printer didn’t stop printing images from the moment the wedding began till late into the evening.
This happy couple proudly displays their first printed and framed pictures that they have ever owned in their lives. Thank you to everyone that that made this moment possible.
When you give to others you receive back so much more in return. It is such a simple and proud universal truth and this picture completely shows this truth in action.
I have been fortunate to take pictures all around the world of all kinds of people and places. My time on Ilin Island has been the most rewarding experience of my career.
This picture captures the response of a bride as she sees her first printed photograph ever! Several brides said it was the best wedding gift they could have ever received.
Some of the couples had been waiting up to five years to get married because they were unable to afford the 400 pesos ($60 US) to purchase the state required marriage license.
"You may now kiss the bride." It was such a great moment of joy when all of the new couples kissed for the first time at the ceremony. All of the brides looked so beautiful.
A view from Father Fernando's perspective as he looks out on all the couples and family members on their wedding day. (Glow on cross added for visual effect by me in post.)
20 brides and not one “bridezilla”. I have learned that when you have very little you appreciate everything to a greater degree. All of the brides were so appreciative.
Everyone was so excited to see all of the couples get ready for the wedding. I asked this girl in the center to take a picture of me taking a picture of the bride and groom.
This groom beams with pride as he ties his first pair of dress shoes. Father Feranado Suarez MMMP said: "how lucky we are to play a part in giving them back some their dignity."
This groom allowed me to photograph him with two of his most proud possessions, his new barong tagalog given to him for the wedding and his rooster trained for cock fighting.
Woman with her new wedding dress.
Weddings and Photographs
When the sun sets there is a blackness that falls like a heavy wet blanket. Any light illuminated on the island is swallowed up the moment it shines. This image is not retouched.
This father told us that no one in his family had eaten that day. He put salt and water in a bowl and had the children dip their fingers into it so they could taste something.
This image is a picture of Brother Darius Amansec's light-up shoelaces. His sister found them in Japan and thought they would help him watch his step at night and not get hurt.
Entering the bamboo jungle to visit the second family to receive a solar panel light. The children on Ilin Island loved to hold our hands as we walked around.
I have always believed feet tell as much about a person as their eyes. What do the feet of these children tell you?
Nancy and some of the kids jump, dance and have a great time. Although they have very little material possessions these children loved to laugh and have fun.
This is the first recipient of a solar light. This woman was abandoned by her family, except for her granddaughter, because in her own words she "was too poor to be loved."
Grandmama and her granddaughter in front of their home with their new solar light. Note the burned portion of the hut. I just cannot imagine how people survive on so little.
Grandmama could not stop looking at her new light. She kept asking: "Why would you do this for me? No one has ever given me anything.” This woman will live in my memory forever.
"I am too poor to be loved", Grandmama said. I will never forget these words spoken by our first recipient of solar light. Light changes everything for these people.
Grandmama was so happy after we gave her a solar head lamp she started singing out loud. Her embarrassed grand daughter kept telling her to stop. She never stopped singing!
The negative effects these kerosene lamps have on the people can almost be seen on their faces.
I gave several of the kids blowing bubbles and candy. None of the children had ever seen bubbles. This is my new friend whom I nicknamed Mona Lisa. She always covers up her smile.
This little boy could not stop looking at his family's new solar light. Now all of the children can study at night, eliminating the use of toxic kerosene lighting.
The following night after having received a new solar light, this woman made 1000 bamboo skewers while her children slept, enabling her to make 40 pesos, the equivalent to $1 US.
It is Watts of Love and my desire to give all of these families clean safe solar light. The smell of smoke and the cost of kerosene lamps is devastating to these families.
#single Another beautiful sunset on Ilin island; however, as the sun fades, most of the villagers will live in complete darkness until the sun rises the next day.
On the rare occasion that a helicopter comes to the island to transport food, supplies or people, the kids run to greet it by waving and yelling for joy...a very exciting time!
We were invited to see this little girl’s crowning dress. It was obvious that this family had some money; however, despite having money, they still had no safe lighting after dark.
These two little girls created their own little Filipino Halo-Halo stand to make money, just like a lemonade stand in the US. Halo-Halo is a real treat to all the Island kids.
Oliver is a local High School teacher. He teaches technology and livelihood. "Giving my students solar lights enabling them to study at night would change their lives forever.”
This is one of the nicest homes I had seen on Ilin. They were so proud of their metal roof. They said the sound of rain hitting it reminds them how lucky they are to have a roof.
I got to play with many of the local children today. Their joy is contagious and they take such pleasure in the simple things. Yes, they are poor but, also rich with happiness.
A few of the kids had taken to following me after I handed out candy. As we were walking home I would turn around and yell "jump" every 20 feet...this was the view behind me.
I saw this little boy carrying his younger sibling around on his back all day. I could only assume this was very common since I saw many other children doing the same thing.
This husband and wife are building on to their existing bamboo hut. Everything is cut with machete and hammer since there are no power tools on the Island.
This is Captain "Big Eddie". The type of boat we are traveling on is called a Bangka. The moment I saw this boat I knew I was about to have an experience of a lifetime.
Nancy and John in front of boat
Solar panel and light.