Saul Flores, who graduates this May, generated some buzz in 2010 as he embarked on a 5,328-mile journey from Quito, Ecuador, to his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Flores walked, hitchhiked, canoed and used pretty much any other mode of transportation you can come up with to complete his trek.
In the course of his journey, Flores worked on a project that he calls “The Walk of the Immigrants.” Photos from his project (seen below) are currently on display at D.H. Hill Library, and Flores hopes they will enlighten Americans about why people move to other countries and to raise money for a charity he is passionate about.
Flores got the idea for the project after participating in a service trip with the Caldwell Fellows, a program supported by the Alumni Association. Flores says that without the experience he had as a Caldwell Fellow, he may have never set out on his journey. When others expressed skepticism about his idea, his friends in the Caldwell Fellows program encouraged him.
“Caldwell Fellows transformed my life completely,” says Flores. “It has changed the way I see life, and the way I see myself. It’s really a tool to empower you to do anything you want to do. Caldwell teaches people how to give back to their communities.”
It has been over a year since Flores returned with more than 20,000 photos documenting his travels, a selection of which are now being displayed at D.H. Hill Library. NCSU Libraries sponsored the project after a chance meeting between Flores and Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of NCSU Libraries.
“They sponsored the whole project, which is such a big investment on their part,” Flores says. “It was a 30-minute meeting and at the end she just said she would sponsor everything.”
The exhibit honors Flores’ strength and service while displaying some of the most remarkable photos from his collection. He hopes the photographs will serve as a bridge between cultures and that viewers of his photographs to recognize the “hard work these people do, and recognize their hope for survival and need for love”.
For Flores, each photograph represents a different state of mind that he was in throughout the trip. “It was enjoyable at times, but really, really difficult,” he says.
Flores’ photos can be purchased through his website refiningthelines.com. All of the proceeds benefit a school in Atencingo, Mexico. The exhibit in D.H. Hill is located on the first floor of the east wing near the reading room, and will run through April.
NC State alumni can receive a 25% discount by entering the code “NCSUALUMNI” at checkout.