So, it's definitely that time of year, the darkest, and I dare say, I happen to live in a place where the clouds hunker down, pour themselves out and I begin to feel I am in the land of perpetual grey. It is easy to feel a little down and out, wonder if you are on the right track, add to that a birthday, and you have a recipe for something not so nice, and I am not even talking about naughty!
At the request of my good friend and sometimes colleague Melanie Jones, who labeled me her all time favorite “badd-ass-moma” read this, I decided I needed to put a list together to bolster myself, support myself, and free myself from the idea that although I am as they say, “living my dream, doing what I am meant to be doing, and not just living for living sake”, I won’t be eating cat food when I’m 75, cus that is what has been on my mind lately, working in the land of “not for profit”.
So here it is, my 2010 reality check, of what I have done in the past 2 years towards my dreams.
Really, I don’t need to bore you all with my list, but if you want to read it, here it is: THE LIST otherwise skip ahead.
- set a goal, I want to be a documentary photographer, working “out there” in the world.
- Formed an alliance and developed a relationship with an NGO
- Came up with an idea for a public engagement campaign with the said org
- Worked at applying for grants, and….got one!
- Hired an amazing writer to come with me on a once in a lifetime trip for 2 months to Zambia and India, the fabulous Melanie Jones.
- Blogged about it for a newspaper and kept on blogging.
- Asked to formulate a syllabus using donated point and shoot cameras from The Fig Tree Foundation to work with kids in Haiti teaching them the skill of photography and creative writing.
- Worked our lily-white buts off creating a public engagement exhibit and website.
- Promoted and opened Waves of Change in 2010 June.
- Got on the radar and chosen by CHANGENTS to work with P&G CSDW
- Went to Cincinatti to meet with P&G CSDW peeps
- Went to NYC in August 2010 to present on behalf of CSDW at BlogHer 2010 where I met Allie Elevald of SWAP, a Kenyan Safe Water & AIDS project.
- Travelled to Haiti for an awe inspiring trip worked with CAWST, PAIDEH, SOIL, PURE WATER FOR HAITI, and PIH. (all incredible water/sanitation organizations)
- Ran the first ever Cameras 4 Change project with 10 youth in Haiti!
- Got involved through CHANGENTS with Sol Garcia of Project X impact.
- Travelled to NYC in November 2010 to work with CHANGENTS and CSR Wire at BSR 2010, had the wonderful opportunity to meet people like Kay Schultz, Senior Group Manager for Global Compliance at Target, Perry Tell of Saatchi & Saatchi S, and many others.
- Travelled to Kenya with Dr Greg Allgood of CSDW, Dr Pam Crane of Blood Water Mission, documenting the work that P&G is doing with PUR in Kenya. Met Keith Kall and Nicholas Wasunna of World Vision, as well as amazing coordinators from the Agha Khan Foundation, and CARE. Worked with SWAP and also began work on the compelling issue of young Kenyan Masai girls, rescued from FGM/C and Child Marriage.
- While in Kenya met and worked with 2 fantastic commercial photographers, Augustus Butera and Taylor Jones, I loved hanging with these guys.
- Asked to speak this February at the Calgary Banff month of Photography to open the Fig Tree Foundation Exhibit.
- Currently working on and further developing all of the above!
It is easy to fall between the cracks of life, and see the glass half empty, that is why friends are so important. I think of all the amazing people I have met on my journey’s over the past 2 years, brave, courageous, resiliant and generous are words that come to mind.
This is Eliza Williams, a school teacher in Kaoleni, a small village deep in rural coastal Kenya. I recently visited with Dr Greg Allgood of "CSDW" and Pam Crane of Blood Water Mission. PUR’s CSDW partners with the Aga Khan Foundation’s Hemed Mwadbudzo and Fred Kasina of CRSP (Coastal Rural Support Project) in an extremely arid region where only ground water collection is used as a water source. Eliza teaches over 90 children in a small mud hut school-room with one other teacher. There is one meager desk that she and the other teacher share in a cramped back room, with a box full of small bits of broken chalk and a few piles of paper. These are all ages, the room is overcrowded, no desks, no shelves, no chalkboards on the wall, not even a mat for them to sit on the dirt floors. Eliza is not deterred, but determined to find a way to teach. She asked me for money for chalk and paper. On these trips I am strictly advised not to give handouts, it can cause more problems than it solves in the moment. I told them that I would share their story, that was my job.