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Jump. Kingston, Jamaica.

Children appear from nowhere, giggling, smiling, and beckoning us to follow through the maze of alleys, broken walls, and tenements they know by heart. They pose for the camera, they gather their friends, they laugh. They offer us popsicles. 

Children are everywhere in Riverton and Trench Town, two neighborhoods in Kingston known for their poverty, gangs, and crime. Trench Town was the seat of a cultural and political revolution in the 1960s and 70s, as well as home to a young Bob Marley. Riverton is an open landfill, the resting place for refuse, and its many inhabitants recycle the trash in order to make a meager living. It would be easy for the poverty, dirt, and stench of these areas to take over and hold a visitor captive. But it is not possible… the children are more convincing ambassadors for their neighborhoods. They lighten the mood with their pick up soccer games and their hula hoops. They are educated. They are playful. They know that the one truly sustainable commodity is the relationship they have with one another. It is not an easy place to grow up, and I do not pretend to understand what they endure. However, what is obvious is that they move through their days with joy and exuberance. 

The photographs in this exhibit were taken in Trench Town and Riverton, while I accompanied staff and students from the University of the South on an outreach trip in January of 2011. Since 2011, I have returned to Trench Town each year.