Yesterday i was offered the opportunity that ive been living for my entire journalistic career. Both Agence France Presse and the Associated Press contacted me in regards to covering Hillary Clinton's visit to Eastern Congo on August 11th. my heart jumped for joy. I felt like i would finally contribute to the exposure of the issues in DR congo to the general public. after all, if something is important enough to grab the attention of the U.S. state department, it's got the attention of the world.
But the jumping for joy Diddnt last long--not long at all. i was able to convince my parents to allow me to stay in Africa for an extra week and a half--a significant accomplishment if you ask me. Parental approval was one thing, but rebooking my flight proved to be impossible, that is, unless i wanted to pay $1800 for a new flight back to the states. forget that.
my heart is completely broken. My heart is broken because opportunities in the journalism industry are rare, and since the print industry started to bite the dust, opportunities are virtually non-existent. My heart is broken because in two weeks, i'm going to pull up the Africa page of the New York Times and see a picture of Hillary Clinton embracing a Congolese refugee and know that i could have been the one to have taken the photo. i could have contributed to something more than a portfolio.
i've never embraced the "without disappointment, you'll never appreciate victory" philosophy. ive had many victories, and ive had many losses. neither benefits from the other. technically speaking, I diddnt loose anything. my intent to come to africa was not to be a media journalist--it was to make a positive difference for the NGOs that i'm working for. in that respect, it's been a complete success, and i couldnt be much happier with the response that i've gotten from them. while my motives were not to be a member of the media, as a documentary photographer, my desire to work along side the media is there.
i'll live to shoot another day, yes. for god's sake, i'm 18 years old. i have 4 years of college ahead of me. i look at those 4 years as 4 more years to turn into the kind of photographer that i want to be. those 4 years will be used to make more opportunities.
In one week, ill be sleeping in my comfy bed in my air-conditioned home. In one week I'll be eating taco bell with my best friend. in one week, I'll be reviewing all of my work and reflecting on my experiences here. i need a restoration period, so I'll be glad to be home at the scheduled date, but I'll still be looking back and wondering why i couldn't make this work--I'll still be heartcrushed.