Over the course of time, i have become very uncomfortable with the community visits included in so many trips.
On the one hand, it is an economic lift to these villages and especially to women who are seeking ways to become financially secure. It has also been an opportunity to try to connect. And the source of more than a few Christmas presents over the years.
On the other hand, it is incredibly invasive. I can’t imagine random strangers coming in to my home and taking photos of my kids to show everyone back at home. Poverty tourism seems like a modern version of colonial thinking.
This week, we visited the SABUTO cooperative in the Segera Community. It was founded by the women to bring the three local tribes together and prevent conflict. They have successfully been building bridges and selling their handicrafts, they okie their profits into buying land to make life more secure for the women in the community.
After a lovely introduction by Jane to their work, a young boy approached and asked me to take his picture. I had a conversation with Alison Baskerville running around in my head. It went something like “Why fly me around the world when a local photographer can do the job?”
I had a flash of insight and handed my camera to the boy and told him he should take the pictures and show me how he sees his friends. What transpired was one of the most joyful hours I can remember. The children posed for each other, arranged and directed each other. They took pictures of their mothers and of us.
It was perhaps the best morning of connection I have ever had while travelling.
They did an amazing job - all the photos in the slide show are theirs - unedited, no filters. Seeing through the eyes of children is an incredible gift.
through the eyes of children, we can see the universe