And then it was DECEMBER

Another year has flown by and we are into December already!

The last picture on the calendar was taken in Kenya at a school supported by Hope Global a team from Australia who do mission work around different countries in Asia and Africa. Just a photoblog here with some photos from time spent in the classrooms at the school with some kids who love learning!

 Humanity… embracing that we all have the same basic needs

At the end of the day we are all human and I believe we all want/ need the same basic things in life… To be happy, safe, healthy and have an opportunity to be all we can be!

I haven’t created a Calendar for 2015 but Hope Global has with a few of my images tucked in there too… sales support a great cause so have a look here!

Humanity...

Humanity… embracing that we all have the same basic needs

Friends

Friends

Learning is fun

Learning is fun

And more fun

And more fun

Engaged

Engaged

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Hope Global 2015 Calendar

I spent some time last year volunteering with Hope Global on their projects in both Kenya and Rwanda. They have groups that work with locals on the ground in many countries across Asia and Africa.

You can check out my Seeing is Believing blog which is about the time spent in Kenya doing eye screening and surgery.

This year they are selling a Calendar to help support their numerous projects in these countries, which I have been fortunate to witness first hand and see many children, teachers, families and others benefit from access to improved education and medical care.

A few of my images are part of the Calendar for 2015 – one shot even made the front cover!

You can make your order here, Great for Christmas gifts, while supporting children around the world!

http://www.hopeglobal.org/announcements/calendar

Hope Global Calendar 2015

Hope Global Calendar 2015

Below are some images from my time at Hope Global projects in Kenya and Rwanda.

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Beautiful happy student, Kenya

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Loving being in school, Kenya

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Checking out the visitors, Kenya

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Fruits of Hope School students, Rwanda

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Fruits of Hope School, Rwanda

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Fruits of Hope School, Rwanda

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Eye screening, Kenya

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Eye screening, Kenya

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Education, Nairobi Kenya

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Education, Nairobi Kenya

 

Scraggles & her transformation…

I was going to write about my lack of understanding of how people could bring a dog into their home, love it for a while then dump it onto the street and leave the country. Instead this is a happy story of a sweet dog and her shaggy coat getting a trim.

Here is her transformation video & story with photos below!

We have loads of street dogs here in Addis Ababa and there is no ‘official’ program to try to control the issue. However, in our neighbourhood the street dogs are generally in great shape. They have worked out where the best locations are to find love and be fed by locals from construction sites, schools and restaurants. They are in general good health and friendly but this isn’t the case in all places around the city.

The first time I met Scraggles

The first time I met Scraggles

Scraggles (the name we gave her) has lived on the street for around 6 years. She has her own grassy knoll she has claimed between the school gate of a local school and some shipping containers. She doesn’t move far from there its her home she found but she is happy there and while she won’t let you pat her… if you approach her she jumps up and her tail starts wagging!

A scarrgly mess

A scraggly mess

This is her short story from the last few months…

Vet Dawit trying to capture Scraggles

Vet Dawit trying to capture Scraggles – highly recommend him. Patient, calm and kind nature with her.

Took a lot of work & people but we finally got her to settle

It took a lot of work & people but we finally got her to settle

Sedated so we could trim her

Sedated so we could trim her

It took a team to complete the trim - this was just a few of the many people who helped

It took a team to complete the trim – this was just a few of the many people who helped

Dreads and trim almost complete

Dreads off and trim almost complete

One of the dreads - super thick, stinky & heavy

One of the dreads – super thick, stinky & heavy

Some of the community who helped - while Scraggles is back on her grassy patch to wake up

Some of the community who helped – while Scraggles is back on her grassy patch to wake up

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She has a tail which is now up most of the time she runs around

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Still cute as anything

Before & after

Before & after

Finding PURPOSE in November

One of my favourite images of FAMILY love…. this beautiful Grandmother and her sweet wee granddaughter!

PURPOSE... finding a reason bigger than yourself to exist.

PURPOSE… finding a reason bigger than yourself to exist.

We meet this sweet Grandma and baby in the North of Laos when I was visiting my cousin who was finishing up years of amazing work in the country. The mother and father turned up with the baby having noticed there was something different about the babies left foot.

Happy Yao baby getting checked

A super smiley and happy baby getting checked

Everyone was impressed that the family had noticed the club foot and acted so quickly to come and get advice on what could be done. In developed countries we don’t see many kids with club feet as they are fixed shortly after a baby is born but in so many developing countries the club foot is not recognised early enough or access to medical care is not available so the child goes without treatment and the chance of being able to walk normally, as any other person born without club feet.

Babies club foot

Babies club foot

Sweet mum and baby

Sweet mum and baby

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The baby’s parents traveled down to Luang Prabang and surgery was performed that same week as the diagnosis. The future is bright for this wee one with the treatment and follow up she will walk normally and lead a happy healthy life. The procedure to repair the foot was a simple surgery cutting the achilles tendon to release the tight pressure on the back of the heal.

About to have the small surgery

About to have the small surgery

The foot is then cast several times for a varying amount of time depending on the patient and then the child wears boots with a metal bar to keep their feet shoulder width apart for several months. The boots may need to be worn during nap times for several years depending again on the severity.

Finishing up in surgery

The cast going on after the short surgery

In surgery the cast going on

In surgery the cast going on

I’m not sure on how this baby is doing… I would love to know but with the love and commitment the family showed I have no doubt she is up walking and still smiling. Having the access to education on medicine and access to healthcare is something I won’t take for granted again after seeing so many children be denied this across the developing world for things that could change their lives.

At the time I said NO photos!

Looking back now I am glad people didn’t listen and did record the event as trying to explain this to anyone would not have the impact of the photos and the video below.

Yes thats me on the bed being carried like the Queen of Sheba minus the fanning and a little less enjoyable due to the pain I was in.

What was I doing you ask?

The story isn’t that exciting. I was on a school trip and this happened on the second day visit to a school where our students were working on the foundations of a classroom and doing activities with the kids at the local school. You can see more images of those images here

I slipped in the mud on a bank while I was reaching for some of the kids phones I was going to get out of the rain. The rest is history as they say… snapped ligaments and a couple of fractures later, a short surgery, a couple of pins and a cast and boot for 3 months!

At the time this was the most embarrassing moment of my life being the center of attention and having to be carried out of the village on someones bed from their home which they connected some wood to the ends in order to carry me.  However, after the diagnosis I didn’t feel as embarrassed about the experience. It seems to have provided my friends with a lot of entertainment so thought I would share it publicly…

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This is the reality for many people living in rural areas where there is no access  to the road. I have seen many people being carried in Rwanda and other countries where medical resources are limited. Was certainly appreciative of the kindness of strangers helping the ferengi out of the village! Wait till I return!

 

Sharing Smiles… one photo at a time

I love taking photos but I think I love giving them to people more… in India I used to go with friends on the weekend to hang out with beautiful children at Mumbai Mobile Creches and shoot portraits, print them and give them to the kids. The children always started off shy but as soon as we printed out the first image they would be eagerly wanting to be next and with so many centres around the city we could always find another one to head to.

After seeing the joy from these children receiving such a simple thing as a photo I started delivering photos back to people on the street who I took photos of… again and again the excitement and joy was priceless and gave me more happiness than taking the image and sharing it with people. Giving back a image to the person who was in it was something special – knowing that for some of them it was the only image they had when we obsessively now share images of ourselves and others daily.

This continued when I traveled to other cities and countries and the response always has always been a big SMILE back and huge appreciation. Check out some of the images below and see how you can come share some more smiles with me!

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The first photo they ever got to keep of themselves! My first time in a Mumbai Mobile Creche which had me hooked right away.

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In the Ger in the Mongolian countryside I was able to take and immediately print this! Was priceless to watch him as it printed!

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Best gummy smile

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” It’s me! ” Originally he thought he wasn’t getting his own picture as the photo was of him and his brother. His reaction to getting his own picture was amazing!

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Anticipation builds as the photos print

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Sharing smiles!

A young boy & his father at CURE Hospital in Addis Ababa Ethiopia watch their image print out

A young boy & his father at CURE Hospital in Addis Ababa Ethiopia watch their image print out

Carefully studying his photo

Carefully studying his photo with his Dad

So now I have something even more portable which can print straight from the camera and I can share immediately with kids and people I met on my journeys.  So often I hear people promise to send photos back and wonder how often they do… I love that I can right away hand over a picture to someone and see them smile right away at it.

Wanna help SHARE SMILES ?

If you send me some polaroid paper, include a self addressed envelope and I will send you back one of the images taken with your paper along with the story of where it was taken and the shared smile!

Send the paper to;

International Community School of Addis Ababa
Tash McCarroll
P.O. Box 70282
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia

P.S. Just indicate paper only on the packing tag (not camera paper)

See the images below for the paper packet – its super small and light weight.
Polaroid premium ZINK paper 2 x 3″ goes with the Polaroid Z2300 camera.

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Come share some SMILES with me!

Creating an IMPACT in October

QUICK BACKSTORY:: We created a 2014 Calendar with 100% of funds going to help rebuild one of the many villages in the Philippines destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013. With the profits from the Calendars and many other amazing peoples generosity we (a big we) have been able to rebuild over a 100 homes and support so many more families… we are now into helping to rebuild a second village where many still need support. These blogs are images (month by month that were used in the Calendar from around the world) to give you some background story and some more food for thought.

IMPACT… your choice to have a positive effect on someone/thing

Last year I was in Kenya doing some work at a school in Nairobi. I met this wee guy he followed me round every time he had a break. He just wanted to hold hands, be hugged and loved on – nothing more. I got to spend a few days with him… he was very keen on the camera and seeing his pictures and would go grab anyones hand who was dangling free. He has a mum and a dad who undoubtedly love on him as much as we all did.  My time with him was short but his impact on me was positive and big – Unconditional, smiling & open!

I love this video and amazing commencement address by David Foster Williams made in 2005 This is water.  His impact on that day would have been huge I am sure for those students who heard him speak but it wasn’t until years later after his death that the video went viral and has impacted so many more people… maybe you too if you take the time to watch it!

People come in and out of our lives and we have the ability to impact them – it can be for a short time or a longer duration. I don’t think we ever really know our impact on others or influence we have…. it should always be positive!

So I leave you with this SMILE!

Impact

Impact

That smile

That smile

Framed!

Framed!

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Peace

Peace

We had a play around on the phone with my photobooth app.

Photobooth fun

Photobooth fun