Elsewhere on this site, you may have come across the video I shot for World Renew in Mozambique last year. In case you haven’t, it’s here. It’s a peppy 2½-minute introduction to the Khoma Family, the Southern Africa representative family for the organisation’s ‘Free a Family‘ programme. I was asked to produce something short and lively that could be shown on big screens to the church groups that support World Renew across Canada and the United States. Apparently, it was a big success, so earlier this year I was asked to go to Kenya to shoot a similar video on the programme’s Eastern Africa representative family, the Onchenges. Today, I’m proud to share the finished product:
The Onchenge family
In 2007, the Onchenge family was displaced from their home when violence swept through the region following a contested election. Their house was burned down and the family fled and lived in a camp for internally displaced persons for a year. Four years ago, they were resettled in Blue-Banita Gichagi village, where they built a small mud home.
Recently, World Renew began working in this region through a new partnership with Nakuru Region Inter-Diocesan Christian Community Services (NRIDCCS). NRIDCCS works with the Onchenge family to help them find sustainable ways to improve their lives.
Many years ago, Mr Onchenge had a road accident and lost one of his legs. Despite this physical disability, he and his family work hard to grow food on their plot of land. NRIDCCS is teaching them how to use new farming techniques and different types of seeds in order to grow and harvest more food throughout the year. It is also encouraging the Onchenge family and their neighbours to raise different types of animals in order to diversify their sources of income.
If you would like to support families like the Onchenges, click here to make a donation.
How storybook-like is this?! I’m currently in Port-au-Prince in the Caribbean nation of Haiti, having just arrived from London via New York. This was the view from my hotel room at dusk this evening. The sky was so beautiful that the view merited a photo, even without the colourful houses. When I saw how the suburb of Jalousie had been painted, I just had to capture the scene and send you a postcard.
The colourful hillside suburb of Jalousie looks down over the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.
Unfortunately, I later learned that the slum painting initiative, part of a project to relocate people from the 2010 earthquake displacement camps, has been somewhat controversial. You can read about this here. I also heard that the slum was painted this way to give visiting tourists and businessmen the impression that Haitians live a colourful lifestyle, and not in unserviced, deprived slums. Indeed, this is the view not only from the hotel I was staying at but also from other luxury hotels, such as the Royal Oasis, infamous for being built with post-earthquake loans from leading development organisations. Sigh!
Anyway, let me just add that I’m in Haiti for two assignments, one for the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) and another for SmileTrain. For the IAF, I will be shooting here in Port-au-Prince and also in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien, covering the work of three of the organisation’s grantees. Then I’ll be staying on in Cap-Haïtien, where I’ll be joined by a team of surgeons, anaesthesiologists and nurses when SmileTrain come to town. Stay tuned for the stories!
Horácio is visually impaired. He is learning how to type Braille thanks to classes provided by the Association for the Blind and Partially Sighted in Mozambique (ACAMO). During an inspiring three days with Concern Universal in Mozambique, I worked with ACAMO to sell some of its success stories, and also documented the work of an organisation that (among other things) teaches people with disabilities how to make and repair wheelchairs and other disability aids, ensuring that it’s no longer necessary to import such essential items at great expense; and finally that of a volunteer civil society group that was trained in ‘social accountability monitoring’ by Concern, equipping it to monitor public resource management and, in turn, demand better services from local government.
I recently completed an assignment in Malawi for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a development-oriented international enterprise owned by the German Federal Government. They are currently celebrating 50 years of German-Malawian development cooperation, and as part of this they will be hosting a photo exhibition to showcase the work they are doing across a range of sectors.
It’s been a while since I’ve sent you a postcard, but today I have the perfect opportunity. I’m currently on assignment in Malawi for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a development-oriented international enterprise owned by the German Federal Government. I have been capturing images for them from across the range of their development programming that’ll be shown in an upcoming exhibition to help celebrate 50 years of German-Malawian development cooperation. When working in the field, I normally find I’m constantly on the go, figuring out logistics, travelling great distances along dusty rural roads, meeting people, gathering stories… oh, and photographing, of course! It often feels like there is little room to breath.
The village of Kalumphira in Kasungu, Malawi.
So today, while visiting Lisandwa LEA School in the village of Kalumphira in Malawi’s district of Kasungu, it was nice to find that I had time to be a little more leisurely. Today, virtually everything was in one place. The groundwork had already been done before I arrived, so I was ushered from scene to scene remarkably efficiently. What made it unusually easy for me to photograph the nutrition-related work being undertaken at this school was the fact that the children were breaking up for the long holidays that day itself. So rather than wading through hordes of excited children and having to find creative ways to keep inquisitive little ones from wandering into my shots, I found that they were all gathered under a far off tree, where exam results were being announced. How easy this work was!
All this meant I was able return to Lilongwe relatively early and prepare this postcard for you. I captured the image while walking the short distance from the school to a community member’s thatched home, where I was to photograph her listening to community radio with her children. The schoolchildren had by now been released and were mostly en route by foot to their respective homes in many different directions. I had no interest in asking the one inquisitive pair of eyes you see in the foreground to move, as her blue uniform brought a pleasing contrast to the scene. I hope you like it.