I wrote this post over the summer during my one-month stay in Uganda, Africa. As a seventeen-year-old photographer, I had the opportunity to live in an apartment on site of an orphanage in Uganda this past summer. It was my third time returning to Uganda. The goal of my trip was to photograph and interview children in need to create sponsorship profiles for a non-profit organization called Children's Heritage Foundation. The profiles are brought back to the US to find sponsors, who fund the nourishment, education, and home of needy children in Uganda. This is my blog post about one of the days in which I was traveling to various schools to photograph children in the program:
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Yesterday was the first day of actually photographing for sponsorship profiles! It was such an adventure. Godwin, founder of Destiny Ministries and a social worker here at Victors, accompanied me to three schools on the other side of Mukono to find kids in the program missing photographs and take their pictures.
We began our journey right after lunch and a bit to my surprise, we walked out of the school and hopped on boda-bodas. I had never been on one alone and I was a little nervous – however, once we got in the hang of things I felt comfortable. The ride to the first school was pretty long although it provided me with the invaluable opportunity to see the beautiful African countryside. As the boda raced down the bumpy Mukono road, I was astonished at the landscapes to the left and right of me. Lush valleys caressed green, willowy trees and plentiful corn crops. Occasionally I would notice a vegetable or fruit stand, usually with a single woman and some children waiting for a potential customer. It was picture perfect; yet the reach for my camera was bound by common sense and gravity as I clung for dear life to the boda. The landscape alone was well worth the ride, however; and I did greatly enjoy myself as I met various children – and of course, attempted to capture their personalities in a photograph.
The first school we visited caught my attention in particular. As we walked on campus, we were greeted with signs to the left and right stating “If you want to succeed, speak ENGLISH” and “Fear God and work hard”. The students seemed studious and even a little unfriendly; however, the first girl I photographed for her sponsorship profile changed my view of the school. Joyce was sweet and friendly, and as she and Godwin caught up about her sponsor and how Victor’s was doing, I was enchanted by her friendly personality and outgoing manner.
We spent the rest of the day school hopping and photographing kids, and I had a lot of fun getting to know their various personalities. I even learned some stories – where the parents were, why sponsorship was necessary in order for them to stay in school – and although I was simply photographing, I was excited that my talent could play a part in helping to provide an education for the kids.
Tomorrow I am going to start with the kids at Victors… I’m so happy! I love each and every one of the students there and photographing familiar personalities makes it all the better.
I’m also happy to say that I now sponsor a little girl named Jackie! She is seven years old and adorable… she’s from Lugazi and both her parents are constantly working. She’s a little shy, but I think it makes her all the more adorable… everytime I hug her or tell her she is “Looking smart today” – smart means ‘beautiful’ in Ugandan culture.. she crinkles her nose and smiles super big and tells me thank you!
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