12th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Third Place, Views Beyond the Peninsula
"Hoop Dreams, Hispaniola"
By Randy Mont-Reynaud
About Randy Mont-Reynaud
Last July, Randy Mont-Reynaud and her daughter, Marie-Jo, left Palo Alto's high-tech territory behind for Haiti's electricity-deprived hills. While walking through a courtyard of a boys' orphanage, Mont-Reynaud saw a boy staring at his basketball pump.
"He was wearing these baggy American pants and Nike
shoes," Mont-Reynaud said. "These don't grow on trees
in Haiti. If the ship stops coming, they're bare-footed."
While most American boys would shrug off a broken pump, this child remained focused
on its uselessness. The boy's despair and disenfranchisement were the emotions
Mont-Reynaud aimed to capture in a photo. Deprived of the necessary knowledge
to make repairs, many Haitian youths are left back, creating an only-the-strong-survive
"The joy in your life is at the caprice or whim of somebody else," she
said. "Anyone at a computer knows frustration of not getting a program
to run. But you can call tech support. A situation I think we can relate
to -- the
During her two-month visit, Mont-Reynaud lived with a native family, adapting
to a native diet of cornmeal mush and beans as well as a no-plumbing environment.
While walking or riding a mule through the terrain, she always carried her Minolta
As administrative director of Stanford Law School's law and economics program,
she doesn't have much time for picture-taking. Mont-Reynaud credits her two children
for turning her on to photography. In fact, winning the Weekly's photo competition
appears to be the new family tradition. Both Marie-Jo and son, Jordy, a Stanford
junior, are previous winners.
With Marie-Jo researching a paper on Haiti's current government, a return to Haiti is planned for this summer. And Mont-Reynaud is looking forward to getting reacquainted with the lifestyle because "you can't really be a tourist to poverty."