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.

Click on photo for larger image.

"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 society.

"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 hopelessness."

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 camera.

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."

--Terry Tang


One more week to vote!

Don't forget to cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 21st issue of the Palo Alto Weekly.