Smiles, play & happiness at the Lake

I got to spend another afternoon with this sweet family at Lake Kivu (Rwanda)… such beautiful kids who loved playing in sand and water. So many smiles and a lot of fun!

Happiness

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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

 

Finding courage in JUNE

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.

Finding COURAGE in June – Being scared but doing it anyway !

Courage

Courage – being scared but doing it anyway

Courage… I guess that’s part of why this blog site is called “Strength in Vulnerability”. Opening yourself up and putting things out into the world, allowing yourself to be judged and given feedback that isn’t always constructive from people who hide behind anonymous titles. How courageous are they? I decided they were anonymous for a reason and that by me opening up and sharing is more positive and constructive than any anonymous feedback I get hit with. I hope by doing so this it crosses boarders and breaks down people’s assumptions about places they have just seen in the media and can make the world a smaller place by reaching out to allow others to glimpse into the world I see !

This months image is from Rwanda… a mother I met walking home down a dusty dry orange dirt road in the heat of summer, carrying not only a heavy load on her head but also precious cargo tucked so tightly on her back just peaking out a little to see me. She was loaded up but still paused for a moment intrigued to see who I was, what I was up to and have her image taken.

You can see the wider shot of her and the load below…

All loaded up

All loaded up

With work to be done and no daycare system in rural areas mothers are always on the move and working with babies on their backs. So here are some images from the country that has stolen a huge piece of my heart, a photo tribute to babies on backs, the Mamas and siblings who carry them.

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FAMILY focus for March!

For those who don’t know I made a Calendar for 2014. The Calendar was raising funds for a rebuild in the Philippines… each month I provide a little it of information about the image for that month on the Calendar… Don’t want to read my babble? That’s cool skip straight to the video… here  or scroll down on this page to the image.

FAMILY… you can’t choose them!  Or can you?

My blood family live in New Zealand – I love them dearly, I miss them daily and when I am home it feels like home. We have fun, we laugh, we fight but we love each other. However, I have lived and spent time in a lot of places and connected not just on a surface level with many people. I travel in a different way to many which I feel allows me to understand a country and its people on a different level. I have been welcomed into so many homes and shared so many memorable moments, days, weeks, months with people from so many different backgrounds and cultures. Yet they have still become become family whose homes I could easily walk back into and be welcomed with open arms… why is this?I truly believe family is about connection.This Calendar was created for a cause… to raise money to help rebuild families homes in the Philippines.  so they could restore their lives and get on with living. Sometimes people just need a small hand up to get back up and going. Little did I know that when I went to the Philippines I would find a family in another country who I would feel completely at home with and deeply connected to. I miss them dearly. As soon as we arrived we were welcomed and embraced by Marie Ann Corsino her mother and extended family and leaving was hard.

Family isn’t always blood – who you choose to connect with and who you choose love.

BEHIND THIS MONTHS IMAGE…. this video shows you what was going on… and  really speaks for itself.I was up in the North of Rwanda shooting a video to tell the No41 story (you should check them out!). Alison and I had taken mottos to shoot some footage of the countryside to potentially use in the video to show ‘Africa’ is not the image of starvation, poverty and mud huts that people envision. I was trying to unsuccessfully shoot footage from the back of the moto around Lake Kivu when Alison suggested we go check out the hot springs. The video & image below are who we came across there!
I spent a lot of time with the No41 ‘family’ in Rwanda and they certainly became one of my families. The family spreads from Rwanda to the USA and even further. They are amazing… they make cool bags, the girls are super fun, cheeky, opinionated and feisty but in a good way, and to top it all off they give back to their community through a school feeding program! Seriously check them out – #shopwithpurpose and give back this MARCH!
FAMILY

FAMILY

February brings OPPORTUNITY!

Giving someone a chance to show what they really can do!

We certainly have done that in the village of Luan. All of the houses have been repaired & rebuilt, the school roof has been fixed and the children are back in school. The remaining money raised is fixing some of the water pumps in the village and also helping families in the neighbouring village who are still living in makeshift shelter under tarps as the outside aid has been slow to help with rebuilding.

I was in Luan village last week and was met with incredible smiling faces & hearts wanting to express so much love and gratitude for what you have helped give them – HOPE!I will share more in the next few days about all of the building and photos to show you what has been done & my take on all of this!

But for now… the image for February (attached) ::

I had been out at a school in Eastern Rwanda with the SHE team. We had been giving an educational session with students at a rural school on menstrual health and hygiene. As always I was blown away with some of the myths that the children had been brought to believe from their families surrounding periods. The job we had was to educate, break down the taboo about speaking about it & combat some of the myths (I could write a whole post on this). 

We finished up the lessons and went out to the red dusty dirt road to wait for the moto drivers to show up. We met a group of women walking up the road babies on backs and loads on their heads and also children playing on the road. I handed over my phone to this young boy who started taking photos of the other kids and then turned the camera on me as I was taking some shots of him. One of the shots he took is the one of me, on the back of the calendar, taking this photo of him. He had such a great time with his friends taking photos & looking at them laughing. Photography has no language barriers!

P.S. The sticker on the phone is from an amazing group called Sevenly. Each week the support a different  cause and run a campaign raising awareness, educating people and fundraising through producing a great new t-shirt, singlet and sweatshirt with great designs. Check them out here or add them on Facebook to see their weekly cause!

OPPORTUNITY

OPPORTUNITY