Away

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Last night I attended a BC Film rally called We Create BC for the seemingly dwindling film industry here in Vancouver. I was face to face with thousands of industry co-workers, many whom have not worked in months, and looking at an equally bleak 2013 in their field of work.  It is worrying.  I was walking alone to my vehicle which is normally never concerning for me at night, but for some reason I felt a chill down my back – fear –  thinking this was strange I quickly got in my car and drove home.  I wondered why I was feeling anxiety and fear?  Could it be the state of the industry and even though I am managing to work and stay afloat I was feeling that stress?  Was there someone looming in the background of the car park seeking an opportunity, or was it just a coincidence that there was a tingling wariness on the back of my neck?

 

Either way when I got into bed the feelings crept in again, and as I remembered the news from earlier in the day when I learned the Kenyan Government was taking action on a directive to “round up” any Somali refugees in Nairobi, to detain them in a stadium and then ship them to even more crowded IDP camps like Dadaab or Alinjugur, I imagined the fear that would bring to anyone being put in that position, not to mention the subsequent danger women and girls are in while in camps.  It is a horrible thing to be overcome with worry, fear and anxiety, whomever you are and where ever you are in the world.

 

We recently worked with young Somali girls that may now well be in danger of being targeted, detained and sent to such a camp. Dadaab  has become high-risk and dangerous, following a series of incidents, including the abduction of aid workers and fatal attacks on refugee leaders and Kenyan security forces.  From January to August 2012, the Dadaab and Alinjugur camps received more than 5,700 new arrivals from Somalia, bringing the total population in these camps to some 474,000. The large numbers were mainly due to the prevailing Horn of Africa drought, famine and insecurity in Somalia, already stretched to the limit, a large influx of of newly displaced refugees from Nairobi will only push resources further and cannot be positive.  This action has been spurred on from the recent retaliative matatu (local minivan taxi’s)  bombings, thought to be implemented by Al Shabaab in Nairobi over the past months.  Through the actions of the terrorism, it is as always the innocents that suffer.

 

I am feeling the insecurity, the anxiety of these girls that I know and pray for their safety, there is nothing I would like better than to get on a plane and go there right now to assist in any way I could.  For now I will focus on what I can do and that is to bring awareness to what is happening.

 

To help raise awareness please share this story, and for more direct action you can donate to:

CARE (who operate directly in both camps)

Heshima Kenya

 

STormy

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Tonite I sit with a mountain of emotion evolving inside my head.  It feels like a storm brewing and taking shape into a massive tornado of feelings and energy.  It has been just over a month since our Cameras4Change team returned from the whirlwind of work that was Kenya.  Leading workshops, filming a documentary, doing interviews, hearing stories that cut to the bone, drama and trauma in real time and real life.  Since that time it has been luckily slow in my “day job”, giving me a chance to edit and go through all the coverage and footage we shot.  Allowing me to edit and process, process and edit.  It feels like it has all hit me tonite as I receive little snippets of insight back from our story editor as he begins to peice our doc together.  Quotes that are beginning to bare the truth through sharing often begin to make more sense and take on deeper meaning when they are recognized for the power that they hold as another set of eyes and ears hears the messages.  I cannot begin to express the importance of what we were allowed to witness, of what we were bestowed with in terms of the lives of others, their stories, their history, sometimes from thier hidden archives, sometimes so raw and evident it had not choice but to explode in the air. 

However much they had been through, whatever travesties life had set upon their young lives, we were also able to see thier joy at experiencing something so new to them, and yet so simple, holding a camera, taking a photograph, making art with images and words, connecting with each other and equally important, with themself. That is the power of photography, that is what I wanted to accomplish when I set out to formulate Cameras4Change, so it is so gratifying when you see the gold of what is possible.  The amazing thing is that our team is doing the work that we do to bring relief, opportunity, experience and transformation to those that would not normally have the chance to use cameras, but whatever way we shake it out, we are also effected deeply by the experience and it alters our lives profoundly.Thank you Kenya, thank you world. 

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PS:  We will keep everyone posted on the process of the documentary as we continue to move forward on it!