Humble Sanctuary…

I know I said that I would post a picture of the moon with a follow on anecdote from yesterdays post, but apparently I am a liar who cannot keep my word. To be honest, the moon pic is not really that amazing, so I’m not going to get upset or lose sleep over a broken promise, especially since I am posting a picture of a church right now. So I think I am “redeemed by God’s grace and mercy”, and plus, I’m pretty sure no one cares. There’s always that!

This church was in the middle of Umbazwane, a mostly rural community in the northern KZN, South Africa. It is right by Sodwana Bay. This church was in the middle of a field, with uncut grass, and nothing really close to it, apart from the pastor’s homestead. It was built by the pastor, and the community, and although it is not exactly waterproof, its never wet inside. There are bats in the roof, but the church is clean with handmade wooden benches for pews. I usually don’t really edit photos, other than making them black and white, but this one, I wanted to just desaturate, to give it a moody look.

In a place where people have no electricity and walk to fetch clean water, I cant help but think of it as a humble sanctuary. It is all these people have really, and they take pride in it. The day I was there, a swarm, for lack of a better word, of butterflies came past. I managed to catch it on camera, but not very well as it happened so fast. I wish I had set up a faster shutter, but there wasn’t enough time! Again, all in one post, I have broken my own editing rules and added a 15% highlight so you can see the butterflies a little better. Most of them are black spots! So I’m including another angle of the church in all it’s coloured glory, that was taken earlier in the day when the sun was still very bright, and the butterflies!

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A tie that guides…

In Nam, (which is how I like to talk about the time I was in Namibia for a work conference), I had a lot of free time, and nothing really to do but take photo’s. So the one day, I sat on the side of a road and took photo’s of people passing by. This was by far my favourite. These two sisters were walking together holding hands, and the older one was explaining how much further they had to go as the younger ones feet were sore. There is nothing more consoling than an older sibling guiding you and telling you everything is going to be okay. I will be posting a follow up to this, with a picture of the moon…

It reminds me of one of my favourite lyrics:

“Make sure my sister knows I loved her, Make sure my mother knows the same.
Always remember, there is nothing worth sharing, Like the love that let us share our name”

-Avett Brothers, Murder in the City

Toilet Paper for Sanitary Pad: Young Girls’ Confession (via Echwalu Photography)

After going to rural area’s in KZN, South Africa, it is clear that lack of access to sanitary pads for girls going through menstruation, is a problem in many countries, not Just Uganda. Girls are being held back, because of lack of access to sanitary pads. It keeps them out of school, and society. It might seem like just one week a month, but missing that much school? This is a wonderful project, and it is not just about sewing, it is about Women’s Empowerment. In fact, it probably does more than a lot of equality laws, activism, etc. It is literally helping girls to strive for a better future, by overcoming a barrier to education. This is something so many woman in the “western” or privileged world take for granted! This project should be winning awards!

Toilet Paper for Sanitary Pad: Young Girls’ Confession Pregnancy, poor health, poverty, absenteeism and drugs among others have over time formed the core of school drop outs in the Sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda, often ignored is the beginning of menstruation among school-going girls. Due to a lack of sensitization, many girls are caught in shock of new changes forming within them. They are often left scared, hopeless and confused. Ignorance about this change has not helped their cause as many have fa … Read More

via Echwalu Photography

Can a smile change the world…?

When I took this picture of this little girl, she was leaning against me smiling, and I looked down and took the picture. The original is pretty great, but I played around with the contrast so that you cant really recognize her face. She comes from a very poor background, and she had walked 10 kms with her mom to get a wound on her leg dressed. Yet there she is, smiling, like she has nothing in the world to worry about! I really don’t think that a smile could change the world, but I do think a smile could change someone’s day. I know this smile changed mine. So If everyone smiled a lot more, and a lot more people’s days were changed, perhaps the world would change, and be a lot more cheerful. (This is following the Hunters: “If it cools your chinas down…” principle.) Also, this is probably the most cheesy thing you have read today!

A heart for change

In Lower Illovo, there is a “Tree Clinic” run by Operation Bobbi Bear. The Tree Clinic is basically a gathering of rural woman under a Natal Fig Tree (Ficus natalensis). They meet once a week to support each other, get treatment for minor ailments, receive HIV/Aids awareness education, talk about their issues, get advice and assistance with social problems, grants, child care and many other things. Operation Bobbi Bear also hands out second hand clothes and some food items that have been donated by private people and companies. This is one of the Zulu spiritual leaders at the Tree, addressing the woman before a blessing was given to an unborn baby. Some representatives from Keep a Child Alive (one of the funders of The Tree Clinic and OBB) were also visiting that day. The weather was beautiful, and Mrs Ndandwe was excited to see all the woman with a heart to change their communities.

How wonderful life is when you’re in the World!

My friend had a really rough time with her third baby. She knew it was going to be hard, because with her previous two births she had gone into precipitate labour. This is where labour is very quick and lasts an hour or less. You might think this is the perfect situation? Well, its very dangerous for mother and baby and can often result in premature labour. In fact, with her second child, her husband delivered the baby in the waiting room. So with the third baby, the doctor had planned to induce early, to avoid any complications. What he didnt plan for, was a very premature birth. When she was born, the baby’s lung collapsed and there were a couple of other complications. I won’t go into all the details, but it was a very hard time for the parents. They had a few moments where they weren’t sure their baby girl was going to make it! After over a week of trauma and ICU’s, they were home and happy! That’s why this picture means so much to me, because I know how hard it was for my friend to get to this place. Happy, settled and home with her new baby girl. Her perfect baby girl! When I first held her, her whole arm, was the size of my ring finger. She wasnt even supposed to be born yet! So to Lilly: “How wonderful life is, when youre in the world”.

Fire Escape

This picture was taken at about 10am, after fire fighters struggled to put out a fire that started in the early morning somewhere in the kitchen at the Clear Water Spur. I thought it was interesting that one fire fighter was handling the hose, while the other had become bored and needed an escape. He became rather intruiged with the gathering crowd. So it’s called “Fire Escape”