We’d like to introduce you to Josh Durias and his photography.

Josh was born and raised in Seattle. He’s a father of two, and a husband to one.

We’re plagiarizing here … jes so ya know.

He’s a son of Philippine immigrants and grew up with his mother and father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, two aunts, four uncles and five cousins (among other houseguests) in the 18 years he spent at home.

He enjoys people. And likes to laugh … even courtesy laughs … ha ha. :-)

We met Josh through this blog. He sent us an e-mail with some photos he took on a Compassion trip. They are stunning. See for yourself.

We also asked him to share a little bit about the trip to help put the photos in context. We hope you enjoy Josh’s perspective on children in poverty.

You can also view this slideshow in Flickr.

Gearing up for my Compassion trip to Ecuador, I told my wife, “Ya know? In some ways I might have more in common with the Compassion kids than with the folks I’m traveling with.”

She needed a bit more convincing.

I reminded her that my cousin was a Compassion child in the Philippines, my mother grew up in a poor farming community in Zamboanga, and many of my family members are still living in situations like the ones I’ll see on the trip.

“Wow,” she replied. “I hope people can see that in your photos.”

With that, my challenge was set: Tell the stories of these kids as if they were my own family.

Back in June, I traveled with a group of donors to Quito, Ecuador. The first stop was Bernabe Student Center for a Child Survival Program (CSP) presentation. This was the same center where I met Edison and Paula.

Edison and his family opened up their home for us to see what typical living arrangements look like in this area of Quito.

After lunch with the family, the highlight of the day was Edison’s birthday cake. No, it wasn’t his birthday, but for Edison’s first five birthdays his family didn’t have the funds for a birthday cake. So on that day, Compassion sponsored Edison’s very first birthday cake!

We encouraged him to “go for it,” but Edison wanted us to slice the cake up for everyone to enjoy.

When we returned to the center, a little girl named Paula waited anxiously for one of the families on the trip – her sponsor family. She was shy, but excited about the meeting. Her sponsor family greeted her with open arms and grins from ear to ear, but what really broke the ice were the gifts.

The family unveiled (among other things) a “Dora the Explorer” blanket. Paula loved Dora.

From that point on hugs, smiles and tears of joy were shared by everyone in the room. To think, this is just the start of years of support.

The last center we visited (Jesus Rey de Reyes Student Center) was located in Otavalo. Here we met Jessica and her family and spent much of the afternoon doing typical tasks around their home.

A few of the members on the trip tried their hand at picking corn. Others worked the wool that the family used in weaving belts that were sold at the market. Some of the most brilliant colors and intricate weaving I’ve ever seen!

On the flight home, I realized how thankful I am. I am thankful for an organization like Compassion whose sole purpose is to release children from poverty.

I am thankful that kids like Edison, Paula, Jessica and my cousin can be given hope in places where there may be no hope. And I am thankful that I, the son of a poor farmer’s daughter, get to share the story of kids growing up in his own mother’s shoes and sharing them through photography.

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10 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Aug 28, 2009
    at 12:32 pm

    That’s my brother!

  2. Mike Stephens
    Aug 28, 2009
    at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for the great photos and your work! The lady that cuts my hair, Grace, is from Zamboanga. Although she hasn’t cut it in a while b/c I have cut back to save some money.

  3. Aug 28, 2009
    at 6:41 pm

    Great post and photos! Thanks so much for sharing Josh. I’ve actually been to Otavalo as well, and remember it so fondly. You captured the sites and people very well!

  4. Dana
    Aug 29, 2009
    at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing those pictures with us. I sponsor two children in Ecuador and this gives me a small glimpse into what their lives may be like. I can’t wait to visit my sponsor children someday!!

  5. Amy Wallace
    Aug 29, 2009
    at 1:35 pm

    Amazing pictures!!

  6. Aug 30, 2009
    at 8:42 pm

    What beautiful photos! I love everything I saw on the website, as well. (That pic of Otavalo, Ecuador — wow!!) Amazing. God bless you for using your gifts to spread the word about Compassion. God gives us these gifts for a reason. :)

  7. Donna Michener
    Aug 31, 2009
    at 5:19 am

    Josh-these are awesome! I think you absolutely told their stories with these photographs. It makes me want to go to Ecuador :-)

  8. Jen
    Aug 31, 2009
    at 10:38 am

    Great pics!! Thanks for sharing.

  9. brad schultz
    Aug 31, 2009
    at 11:12 am

    Beautiful Josh!

  10. Sep 1, 2009
    at 3:52 pm

    thank you!

    Such a great chance to experience the good, good work Compassion is doing.

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