This week in our Monday preteen class, we were fortunate enough to meet Kadir van Lohuizen, principal photographer of the project Vía PanAm, now showing at the Bronx Documentary Center (BDC). The show was mostly about the year Kadir spent traveling from Chile to Alaska via the PanAm Highway, exploring migration through photo and video.
Kadir quickly engaged the students in class by surveying where each preteen’s family came from and asking if they themselves had migrated to the US. Surprisingly, almost every country was represented in Kadir’s work, except for students whose families hail from the Caribbean and Ghana. Since Kadir’s travel included visits to El Salvador, Columbia, and Peru, a few students were also able to share their experiences having also visited their home countries.
The essays about the gang violence in El Salvador and domestic workers who sent money back home to their families resonated most with our class. These topics generated a very interesting discussion about how Kadir gained entry into specific places like prisons, homes, and airport deportation centers.
In the end, the kids were super impressed by Kadir’s travels and even more smitten by a stray kitten a few neighborhood friends brought into the BDC!