Meeting the children of Wolisso

Last week I traveled with High School students from my school in Addis out to Wolisso a town about 2 hours west of Addis Ababa. We spent some time at a small rural school that our school has been working with for the past few years helping to build more classrooms, provide resources and connect with the children.

We were greeted by smiling faces, a lot of energy and children full of life! Our students started building relationships with the Wolisso students who they will spend more time with over the coming year. Here are a few of the beautiful faces & connections being built…

Curious

Mr Curious

This wee guy was popular

This wee guy was popular

Friends

Friends

Cheeky

Cheeky

_thumbIMG_0093

_thumbIMG_0031

_thumbIMG_0136

Huge smiles doing art

Huge smiles doing art

Meet my goat

Meet my goat

_thumbIMG_0057

Making soccer friends

Strength comes in many forms

Strength comes in many forms

Outside the school - skipping fun

Outside the school – skipping fun

Beauty

Beauty

_thumbIMG_0107

Education matters… for everyone

Mumbai Mobile Creches is an NGO working with the children of migrant construction workers since 1972, providing them comprehensive daycare and education centres directly on construction sites that provide education, nutrition, and health services. Their primary aim is to provide children with the nurturing care that they deserve so that they can enjoy the benefits of a happy, healthy, and safe childhood. As they say “It is deeply ironic that the children of the very people who produce the symbols of economic development – skyscrapers, residential and commercial complexes – are denied the ability to participate in and benefit from the progress the city promises”.

When I was living in India I spent a lot of time volunteering for MMC  I got to know about them through a friend. I love what they stand for ‘every child has the right to an education no matter their circumstance’. Setting up crèches/ schools on worksites around Mumbai and giving the opportunity for children of the workers on the construction site to be ale to receive the education they deserve in a safe environment.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandala

I visited over a dozen sites in my time and met some incredibly bright beautiful children along with many passionate and dedicated teachers. Enjoy a small snap shot of them below…

Mumbai Mobile Creches

Mumbai Mobile Creches

_thumbIMG_9819-2

_thumbIMG_5769

_thumbIMG_5556

_thumbIMG_9827 _thumbIMG_9009

_thumbIMG_0783 copy

_thumbIMG_1517 - Version 2

_thumbIMG_1290

_thumbIMG_9985_2 - Version 2

_thumbIMG_0419-2

_thumbIMG_1240 _thumbIMG_1192-2

_thumbIMG_5482

Taking a Smoke Break

I’m not a smoker but I love to capture people taking a break from life and in a state of smoking ‘trance’. I know physically smoking isn’t good for you but there is a certain look people get in their eyes, a deep enjoyment and almost a sense of calm that seems to come over them… I am sure many a smoker would argue for the mental health benefits of that break. Here are a few images I have captured of men in a few countries in that moment…

Taking a break in the Mongolian countryside

Taking a break in the Mongolian countryside

Deep in thought, India

Enjoyment, India

_thumbIMG_2502 - Version 3

Bidi break, India

_thumbIMG_6737_2 _thumbIMG_6735 _thumbIMG_2909 - Version 2 _thumbIMG_2867 _thumbIMG_2143 _thumbIMG_1375

Cowboy Mongolia

Cowboy, Mongolia

Chilling in China

Chilling in China

Showing Strength in SEPTEMBER

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.

STRENGTH… Your ability to rise against all odds and remain strong

Your ability to rise against all odds & remain strong

Your ability to rise against all odds & remain strong

I captured this beautiful strong woman in Rwanda when I decided to team up with a local art gallery and shoot the women who were working making crafts in a workshop attached to the gallery. Over a few afternoons I meet with the ladies set up a sheet and different kitenges as backdrops and shot images of the ladies which we used in a small exhibition on International Women’s Day  to show the strength and resilience women have.

This woman came out and didn’t seem all that keen to have her photo taken.  She had a pouty face and look genuinely pissed off. Through my friend I managed to translate and ask if she didn’t want to participate and that she didn’t have to… I really don’t like people feeling they are forced into something… but she agreed and said she wanted to be part of it!

When I looked through the lens at her I knew she was photogenic… some people just naturally click with the camera and she sure did – super powerful and strong. When she saw the first few photos she relaxed – and as I got to know her over the course of the week printing coming back to hang the photos she eased and I really got to see her strength and power not to mention beauty.

These images are some of the results…

_thumbIMG_3934 edit2 _thumbIMG_3815-2 _thumbIMG_3421.1 _thumbIMG_3668 edit _thumbIMG_3179 _thumbIMG_2896

_thumbIMG_3121

_thumbIMG_2855

_thumbIMG_3381

_thumbIMG_3653

 

Opening Hearts in Rwanda

I was incredibly fortunate to be able to join an amazing team visiting Rwanda in October last year. The Healing Hearts Northwest team from the USA is one of four teams that come to Rwanda annually to perform live changing & saving surgery every year. Hearts were opened, repaired and sewn back up… my heart was filled with admiration for a team so committed and talented truly changing lives.

Looking into surgery

Looking into surgery

The visiting team had brought a photographer/ videographer along to document the stories of some of the patients and she was more than happy for me to join her in following the team which I was truly grateful for the opportunity.

Here are just a few images of the amazing work that took places and the hands at work. For patient privacy I have not included any images post op of the women who were incredibly tough and up in moving with in 48 hours of surgery.

Surgery prep

Surgery prep

I learnt a lot about the process of surgery, the different ways surgeons operate and the loving after care that goes into the work. Over 8 days 16 surgeries were performed, sometimes the surgeons were in surgery for 8 hours attempting to first repair a value before having to replace it. They stood in one place for that entire time; no drink, no toilet breaks, in the same spot. I on the other hand sat, stood, walked in and out of the operating room, moved from the foot to the head of the bed, went out for a snack and drink – they stood, worked and problem solved. I was in awe of their work, the way their hands moved, hearts were moved to bypass and then powered back to life.

electrical cutting

The initial incision is made though an electrical cut

Of the patients operated on 14 were women, a lot of them young women who had not yet had families. Why does this matter? In Rwanda (as in many countries) a huge amount of womens value is placed on being able to bare children and have a family. Once someone has their valve replaced then they have to stay on medicine for the remainder of their life, pregnancy can cause blood clotting issues and potential death, therefore it is incredibly risky for women to get pregnant following valve replacement.

First incision is made

The sternum has to be cut through

_thumbIMG_2044

Incredible focus for hours

Teamwork

Teamwork at its best

Monitoring

Monitoring

Precision

Precision as the new valve goes into the heart

Many hands doing precise work on the valve

Many hands doing precise work on the valve

Bypass machine

Bypass machine

 

Happiness in AUGUST

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.

Happiness… making the decision to be happy!

I met this young boy in Kigali when I was shooting photos of his mother and some other women at a cooperative at a Art Center. The portraits of the women were exhibited as a small display in the art center on International Women’s Day… they will come next month. Below are some photos of him and his friends who were hanging out for the few days I was with the women.

Children find happiness in simple things including posing for the camera and getting their photos back!

Making the decision to be HAPPY

Making the decision to be HAPPY

Friends

_thumbIMG_3949

_thumbIMG_3957

_thumbIMG_4243 2

_thumbIMG_4249 B&W copy

_thumbIMG_4222

_thumbIMG_4267