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.

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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

 

 

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

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Huge smiles doing art

Huge smiles doing art

Meet my goat

Meet my goat

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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

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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

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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

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Bidi break, India

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Cowboy Mongolia

Cowboy, Mongolia

Chilling in China

Chilling in China

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

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