Friday, October 10, 2008

Lights, Action...CAMERA!

I always bring my digital camera to Kenya. The photos from my trips are the primary way I share Oasis of Hope with others and I end up with thousands of photos every time. But, about 80% of those pics are not taken by me. The kids love to take photographs of themselves. Every evening, when I return home...I spend an entertaining hour checking out the photos taken that day.

The boys and girls from our group homes have gotten especially adept at staging themed "photo-shoots" of themselves that often incorporate props...usually with hilarious results.

Johnstone with my sunglasses and a dishtowel....

....this last one is especially funny to me since the photo-shoot was happening while supper was being cooked by Sasha (my business partner's daughter...visiting Kenya for the 3rd time this year) who was completely oblivious to the action taking place right next to her!

This group photo shoot was taken in August of 2007 one Sunday after church. It features Johnstone (of course!), Timothy, John, Martin, Paul, Elvis and Edwin:

The thing that I love the most about these photos is how they portray the spontaneous joy that these kids are now capable of. They aren't smiling because I am prompting them to...they are enjoying each other and exhibiting the silliness that can only come out of a kid that is comfortable and confident in their life.

It has only been a few years since all of these youth were Kitale streetboys....dressed in torn and dirty clothes, barefoot, hungry. Many of them were trapped in the addiction of sniffing glue. I look at them now and can't help but smile and shed a tear at the same time while I thank God that Oasis of Hope has been able to transform so many lives.

Many times the only photographs that come out of Africa are the ones that show the despair and the seeming hopelessness. While I run the risk of having people look at the photographs in this blog and think that these clean, well fed, nicely dressed kids are a world away from the typical Africa photos....I believe that it is important to show the HOPE. Our byline at Oasis of Hope is "Giving hope to the hopeless" and these kids are a perfect example of that sentiment in action.

Paul, Moses, Edwin, and Joseph show that a dog (in this Kenyan dog, Sky) can make a nice prop:

I couldn't resist being part of the action!

Sometimes the photographs that the kids produce take my breath in these dramatic shots of Edwin, Johnstone and Moses:

I can't wait to see what they think of next!

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