Be Yourself: A Water Wednesday Story

Be Yourself, these are words we hear often, but sometimes it is when we are far from home when we realize it is the familiar things we often take for granted.  While working in Haiti I met an engaging and enterprising young man by the name of Carlo in Petite Riviere.  Being hot and uncomfortable, what does a girl yearn for, but some pampering of course, actually it would have been really great to just have a mediocre shower, heck, even a bad one!  Normally I would just do without, but our Haitien translator, RoseMay was not a girl to just let things slide, she went on the hunt and found a salon closeby!  The owner was noneother than Carlo, who calls his salon Carla's Beauty Salon. 

The salon has no running water, nor electricity, but Carlo has run his little beauty empire for the past decade without those luxuries.  The water delivery gals fill up the water barrel that sits next to a sink that drains into a bucket, and for that Brazilian Blowout, have no fear, Carlo will fire up a small generator to power the blo-dryer!  You can't imagine the thrill of your head being caressed by the cool water, and the shampoo and blo-dry that followed. 

Carlo's motto is "be Yourself", he is, as the only openly gay man in Petite Riviere, a shining example of that mantra.  So Be Yourself and the world will believe in you!

Cameras head to E.Africa

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Watch on Posterous

 

Hi, I am David Murphy K,  a film maker on my way to Uganda to work on a pilot project spearheaded by Sawa World.  My goal is to conduct a Sawa’s Youth Media Training Program (YMTP) in basic video production.  I will be a guest blogger for Cameras 4 Change in this blog over the next 5 weeks as I work with the participants guiding them to report and produce videos about people who are creating a change in their community (Sawa Leaders), thus becoming their own agents of change! The Youths will be filming using basic equipment to cover these moving stories. 

The pilot project has a duration of 12 months, but I will be there intially for a 5 week “in-field” hands-on training, following, which the youths will carry forward the knowledge acquired within that period.  The project will train five Sawa Youth Reporters and document five Sawa Leaders.   They will share the solutions of the Leaders with other people within their community and the rest of the world!   This is so exciting for me on a personal level as I will not only be fulfilling a goal of teaching using my skills as a film maker, but also working with local youth to help to transform the community.  I will be updating you on every aspect of whats happening in that part of the world, with the cameras of course.

Saving Young Mothers on Mothers Day

After reading a piece about saving mothers by increasing safety In childbirth it reminded me how this applies to FGM. Every year thousands of young girls (between the ages of 9 – and 14) are illegally circumcised in places like Kenya, Uganda, and other East African countries. They are then often married to men who of course impregnate them. Childbirth has it’s own parameters and involves a percentage of difficulty that results in dangerous and fatal outcome, this is true. However, the smoke in the air that represents mortality in childbirth, becomes increasingly thick and problems magnified when dealing with young girls and again mounts when those young girls are circumcised. It is Mothers Day, Please give to organizations that work to educate and protect young girls from FGM and child marriage. Here is the one I work with

www.ProjectXImpact.org

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Photo of the Day for Mother’s Day 2011

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I met this mother of 9 in Site Soley, one of the most dangerous communities in Haiti.  The family home was devastated and her livlihood of selling sweets in her community became obsolete as no-one has any extra money.  Since that time she has moved her family from the stifiling heat of the tent city due to the unsafe conditions.  Crimes against women are paramount in Haiti since the earthquake, and so she has managed to peice together a small one room shack on the doorsteps of what was once the family home.  She spends her time combing the rubble for rebar to sell and a large 8 foot pile dominates the front gate, almost echoing the chaos in the lives of many in Haiti.  I wish her all the best on Mother's Day, to her and the countless other Mothers in Haiti and beyond that I have witnessed, my love to you…xxx…Cate

A MOTHERsLOAD

I missed the wedding!  I wanted to watch but did not get up at 3am to watch with millions of others around the world.  It was fascinating to see thousands lining the street, smiles on their faces, it was a joyous occasion that brought so much happiness to many.  A week ago on good Friday I saw another big crowd.  I drove past a block long lineup of throngs of people, eager to get into a warehouse sale to buy clothes.  That was a testament to consumerism that perplexed me.  These people had such a strong need to buy an item they thought they needed, that they got up early on a beautiful holiday morning, to wait outside in a line for over an hour for permission to enter.  There is passion out there people, there is no mistake in that!

 

It is my wish to help others direct that kind of passion, or at least some of it to helping some of the people that I have come across in the past 3 years.  As I have worked around the globe and connected with folks from all walks of life, the push to share their stories and give voice to their lives is palpable for me.  I hope that if anyone takes a few moments to try to understand they too will feel something of what I have, and perhaps that small spark will begin a transformation within them that can spill out into the world.

 

As Mother’s Day approaches on May 8th, I want to share some images of Mothers that I have met from around the world that inspired me.  Some with their stories, others with simply a smile, but all with a world vastly different from ours here, but one we can identify with.  These mom’s have often had to make great sacrifices, work in ways that we can not often imagine, face challenges in their everyday life just to survive, and have tried to do the best they can.  Sometimes they are moms as young as 12 that have been forced into child marriage, and sometimes they are mothers trying to help their daughters have a better life through education.  Some of them have been forced to separate from their children to try and provide better lives.  These are all stories I have heard from the mouths of women and young girls that Sol Garcia and I have been working with in Kenya.

 

If you would like to engage with a program that supports young girls and women, please think about donating in your mother’s name for Mother’s Day.  For more info please link to Sol’s latest post at Changents and visit Project X Impact.  As many of you know that have been following our work, in November and January Sol and I conducted research with girls at risk to FGM and Child Marriage.  The work was difficult and rewarding, and has caused both of us to dedicate ourselves to continue to raise awareness and support to the issues.

 

In thanks and in celebration of Mothers around the World!

 

Image Captions:

1.  A mother that works as a weaver in Chettinad cradles her daughter as we sit and talk

2.  A Pokot Mother walks steadily towards the village of Alale in NW Kenya

3.  I reach out to a young woman that has made huge sacrifces in her life to transform herself after being married at 13

4.  Many young mothers in Kenya have no choice in the matter, circumcised and married while they are between the ages of 9 – 14, some choose to leave all they know, to get an eduction and have a life that they choose.