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."
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.