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

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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.

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

 

 

Where does RESPECT come in? : July

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.

RESPECT … the deep admiration you feel for someone & all that they are

This is one of my favourite images… there is so much more to this photo and the family in it that it makes me miss India and the streets deeply. It also brings back a huge amount of memories and flood of emotion.

This is a story with a lot more images telling you about the family and some of the time I was so fortunate to spend with them. The deep respect from the time I spent with them, watching them go through tough times, the birth of twins on the street and the reality of life for so many and the internal battle I had to fight with every time I walked away.

RESPECT

RESPECT

One of the beautiful young girls from the family and her grandmother on one of my first meetings with the girls which was just on the street along from Dadar Flower market in Bombay. The street is incredibly busy and many families live on the side of the road and under tarps and in makeshift ‘homes’. Not an easy life but every time I met the girls, their friends and family they were incredibly friendly, never asked for anything other than to have their photos taken – so the least I could do was to return their photos each time.

Taking the shot : my friend Nema was with me this day & I am so happy he caught this shot of me.

Taking the shot : my friend Nema was with me this day & I am so happy he caught this shot of me.

I first met the girls at the end of Dadar Market in Mumbai. They were sitting down with a small selection of vegetables they were selling. Their eyes and smiles caught my attention and I asked them if I could take their photos which they immediately responded with a smile and giggles from friends.

Fist day I met the girls

Fist day I met the girls

First meeting in the market

First meeting in the market

A week or so later I went back to deliver the photos to the girls  (as I often do) and found them a little further along with a group of friends and loads of other families. They were so happy to get the photos and of course this then turned into a photo shoot with them, friends and others who joined the fun.

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Beautiful friends

Beautiful friends

I returned to the visit the girls many more times over the following months, delivering photos, taking more photos and hanging out trying as best I could to communicate with the girls with no common language other than smiles and hand gestures. I enjoyed their energy and while I wasn’t doing anything for them they seemed excited with my visits.

Grandma & some of the kids

Grandma & some of the kids

I came back one day and the girls were desperately trying to explain something to me. They signalled for me to follow them across the road and up some stairs onto a flyover where I was met by a whole load more families who were living in this new spot. There amongst a group of people they pulled back a sheet to reveal two tiny babies sleeping in a wee cot and managed to explain to me that this was their new brother and sister – twins! The girls were beaming!

The twins

The twins

I was blown away and wondered where their mother had given birth, how old the twins were and if they doing ok. They seemed small and their mother looked exhausted as well. I told a friend about the twins and she put me in touch with a midwife who does a lot of work with families on the street and she said she would come back and check them with me another day. I was nervous about how the family might respond to me bringing someone in and I am no expert on babies so hoped I wasn’t over stepping the mark.

Luckily for me the family received the visit with their usual openness and smiling faces. We found out the babies had been born there on the street – addition 8 and 9 to the family. While they were small for their age, I was assured they were in good health and like their family incredibly resilient.

Family

An amazing family

I don’t want this to be a sad story – I guess I wanted this to be a story of seeing more than what is in front of your eyes… looking past circumstance and seeing beauty in tough situations. Getting to know what is under what we SEE at a first glance… and giving everyone dignity and respect!

A persons situation does not define who they are!

Smiles that make you smile

Well these two just make me look good… I shot these yesterday here in Rwanda of a couple of wee boys who have a great time together.

One of the boys Mum’s studies and works at No.41 (more about them soon) so he gets to spend the day hanging out with his buddy Mo and his Mum who made the shoot a lot easier with her behind me antics (she worked up a sweat!)… aren’t they gorgeous happy boys?!

Because I'm happy!

Because I’m happy!

 

Oh hey!

Oh hey!

 

It comes naturally

It just comes naturally

 

Bubbles = happiness

Bubbles = happiness

 

Mothers…. a day of celebrating all those we call MUM

I have always had mixed feeling about these day’s – mothers day, fathers day, – why do we need one day to celebrate our Mothers or Fathers? Should we not do it every day… and then I thought about it and realised I was wrong. If we set aside a day then we can really step back and focus on paying attention to, being appreciative of our Mums and what pay tribute to what it means to be a Mum, then thats a good thing!

So I thought I would put together a wee blog on some mum’s I met this past year on a photography assignment I went on for USAID  to South Africa, Lesotho and Uganda. During my time in the field documenting their Orphans and vulnerable children’s programs I met some amazing loving Mum’s working hard to provide education, shelter and a safe home for their children. What more does a child need?

Mothers born in tough circumstances working so hard to provide a great life for their children. They were all amazing women and mums.

Proud mother

Proud mother

A happy mother & her young daughter stand in the doorway of their home in a rural village in Uganda. She has worked incredibly hard to support her family. The initial support they have received has increased their knowledge and ability to farm and sustain themselves for the future.

Love is happiness

Love is happiness

A mothers LOVE ! Is there anything stronger? A mother and her son share a moment at a fun nutritional session for mothers called ‘Mama Zama’. The groups works with parents teaching them ECD skills such how to stimulate their children more through play, South Africa

Mothers love

Mothers love

A mother shares a moment with her baby at a parenting educational session with parents at a clinic in Mbarara, Uganda

Keeping kids healthy

Keeping kids healthy

At a clinic in rural Uganda a mother has her son checked for malaria after he had a fever and lost his appetite. She was very conscious of his health, as he had been so sick as a young baby the doctor informed me, so was regularly bringing him to he clinic for check ups.

New uniform for school

New uniform for school

A mother working at a local sewing project in Lesotho looks for a school uniforms for her daughter. Mother’s know the importance of keeping their daughters in school.

New arrival

New arrival

I arrived at this rural clinic in Uganda just an hour after this mother had given birth. She looked incredible and was beaming with pride to show me her son. I was amazed that she had gone into labour and walked herself to the clinic and gave birth not long after arriving – a super mum.

Memories

Memories

The connection between this mother and her daughter was beautiful as they looked through photos and shared memories of both their childhoods, South Africa.

Copying how mum does it

Copying how mum does it

She told me “this is my baby” and she was doing what her mum does and taking great care of her baby, Uganda.

Good news

Good news

A mother living positively finds out the great news that her baby is healthy in a counselling session in a clinic in Uganda.

Securing the future

Securing the future

A mother and her daughter attend a local meeting on issuing birth certificates and will writing in her village. Ensuring that families have all of their legal documents, such as wills and birth certificates, prepared is information local paralegal officers deliver to remote villages. This ensures that parents understand the need for and importance of this for securing their children’s future.

Born to be a mum

Born to be a mum – superhero!

I was in nothing but awe of this mother as she told me the story of how she became mother to Josephine. She had heard cries from a latrine as she was returning home one day with her children. With no way to see down into the deep pit she ran to the local market and convinced them to give her a torch so she could see the baby inside. Through a series of huge obstacles she managed to get the concrete slab removed and have someone climb down into the latrine to retrieve the, only days old, baby who was bloated and covered in waste. There have been many challenges along the way but this mother is nothing but loving and proud of her healthy bright young 4 year old girl.

And to the Mothers whose girls are missing today in Nigeria & so many other places they are trafficked from my thoughts are with you #BringBackOurGirls