Hey all, This is Cat, writing from Santiago, Chile. I find it hard to believe that I've been here now for just over a week! Self-lead has been one of the things that we've talked about occasionally as we went throughout the past 10 months, knowing that it would someday happen – but it seemed like such a distant event that it sometimes still takes me by surprise that we're actually all spread out doing this solo-thing.
My days so far have been spent tagging along with a local pastor as he films a couple of short videos as an aid for reaching out to the skateboarding community here in Santiago. I've been able to help them out by taking the 'behind-the-scenes' shots of the interviews that they're doing, so that the church is able to send some updates to the people supporting them financially.
I've also been asked to take some photos of their normal Sunday services, the children's ministry and possibly do some portrait of the leaders of the church with their families for the church website/bulletin board. So I'm not with a lack of things to do!
Originally my hopes for self lead were to be connected to a refugee ministry for the entire month, to be able to really form relationships and get a good understanding of the refugee situation here in Chile. Unfortunately that didn't happen but I've been attempting to connect with an organisation that works alongside many Colombian and Haitian refugees, so I'm hoping that over the next few days I will be able to start getting involved with a ministry that's connected to our vision on top of the photos that I'm doing for the church.
I felt rather victorious the other day after meeting a lovely Bolivian woman who didn't speak a word of English, yet being able to communicate in what little Spanish I know and find out a few details about her. After I found out that she was from Sucre, was living and working in Santiago and had been for 6 months already, and then shared with her where I was from and that I was studying photography, she invited me out to lunch. Sadly I didn't have enough time to join her – but it's one of my favourite moments from self-lead so far!