Today I went over to the U.N. to see a photo that my dear friend, Amy Marsico, worked on. The photo exhibit is entitled Do You See What I See? It captures the thoughts and emotions of displaced children living in refugee camps in Yemen and Namibia. The powerful images and the words of the children reacting to those images ranged from loneliness to hope to intense memories of the experiences they've been through in the camps and in their home countries.
The exhibit is the output of work my friend, Amy, and her colleagues did in support of the UNHCR's Convention of the Rights of the Child. The Convention puts forward that children have the right to actively participate in the decision-making that effects their lives and communities. It has been ratified by nearly every country in the world. The U.S. is one of the few who have not adopted it.
What struck me about the thoughts of the children featured in the photo exhibit is how easy they were to understand. They had all the same concerns we have - being liked, companionship, future opportunity, learning, a desire to be safe. On my way home, I considered how children might see these streets of New York I walk along every day, what they might think as they walked through my life.
I considered how the child I used to be would view the adult I am now. What she'd be happy about and what she'd like to change. She'd want me to be having fun, freely voicing my thoughts, and making a difference. She'd want me to be excited to get up out of bed in the morning and out into the world. And she'd never want me to sit still. Ever.
I like to think that I carry the little child I used to be in my heart and mind as I go through my adult life. I'd like to think that though I've grown older, I've kept that young, optimistic, idealistic view on life. I'd like to think that what I see now is what I've always seen: a world full of opportunity and hope, a world where I can make a difference.
The photo above can be found at: http://www.refugeechild.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/090406.jpg