Kathryn Kiana Martire's Photographs from Fiji (photographs)
Martire, Kathryn Kiana
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These photographs were taken by Kathryn Kiana Martire during April 2014 in Fiji. The program was SIT Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change.These photographs were part of the Study Abroad Photo Exhibit on October 14, 2014.Kathryn Kiana Martire is a member of the class of 2015 of Washington and Lee University.Student statement about their experience: "When I returned from abroad I was afraid of two things. First, that when people heard I spent four months in developing Pacific islands, the only thing they would be concerned with asking me is how “poor” the people or villages were. Second, that they would see the photos of me with friends and fellow students from the South Pacific, families I lived with, or the children I grew to love like nieces and nephews, and see just another obligatory photo of Americans abroad spreading images of colonialist propaganda and racism. The pervasiveness of that dominant story about Americans abroad became more apparent to me during and after my travels, and I do not want to add to that void. I did not go to Samoa, Fiji, or American Samoa to somehow “fix” or improve their way of life. I went to learn. I went because I believe that there are values barren from the American way of life that cultures vastly different from our own can offer us. I went because as a Women’s and Gender studies student I wanted to observe the lives of women and their access to leadership and equality half way around the world. But more than anything I went to test my ability to grow as a person, to step far outside my comfort zone, and respectfully come to understand the wisdom of people quite different from myself. To say that studying abroad in the South Pacific radically reshaped my understanding of true wealth and knowledge would be an understatement."