Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Getting Home Day 1

In Documentary work, Ethiopia, Giving Back, Portraits, Travel on November 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

I woke up early today to start this trip. The driver and interpreter arrived at the hotel around 7 am for what we were told was going to be a 400km drive to BELTO  but it’s so small that it does not even show up on the map and since I never checked the map in the first place I just assumed that was the distance. A woman from the SalaamGarage trip will also be joining me, her name is Ponzi Black she is a multi media consultant who will be posting her point of view with photos, blogging and video.  We take the short drive over to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital to pick up Kedira and Kemeru. They are waiting for us in the driveway with just the few possessions they showed up with over a month ago. Of course they are wearing their traditional clothing.

Kedira on the left was the one that first thought I was one of the missionaries who was going to bring her home. Well not quite but I guess not too far off either. Kemeru on the right often has a stoic look on her face, or at least that is all I have seen so far. We all pile into the Toyota with the Yousef our interpreter and our driver whose name I never really got. The ride out of Addis was slow even at that early time of day. The roads are always congested and it seems we are constantly stopping and starting but not because of the normal traffic issues. No we are stopped because goats, or horses are busy crossing the street. The air is thick with pollution as environmental concerns are just not on the radar yet. Black smoke pours out of the trucks as I hold my breath. Coughing has been a big problem for me for the better part of a month since I started getting my shots and is not made any easier with the air in this city. There are no traffic lights here so the cars move at a slow steady dance getting close but not quite colliding. We ease out of town and hit the highway. As I look to either side of the car I see people, so many people just walking one place or the other.

It seems like we are on the road for only a few hours when Yousef says we will stop for lunch. No problem I say but honestly it seems kind of soon. Maybe this guy is union and he has his scheduled coffee breaks. Coffee, that is something that is going to play a MAJOR part it turns out. Our lunch stop is at this beautiful place called Dreamland and it has a great view of a lake view out back. To my surprise they actually have the Wifi’s so I sign on and check my email.

Back on the road after lunch. The girls did not feel comfortable sitting in the restaurant so they went back to the truck. It was an uneventful day with tons of driving. I seemed to have to pee a thousand times and nobody else does. Am I that old? We finally arrived at the Awash National Park to sleep in a hotel. Yousef says that Ponzi and I could stay there but the girls and the driver as well as him would stay at a less expensive place.  I didn’t care where they stayed but as far as I was concerned the girls would be staying at the hotel. After all it amounted to all of about $18.00 for the night. They may never sleep in a bed like that again I told myself.

Getting Home

In Documentary work, Ethiopia, Giving Back on November 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Today is Thanksgiving; in the last 2 days I have seen a lifetime’s worth of suffering and physical tragedy at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A fistula is an avoidable but terrible injury that happens when a baby becomes stuck in the birth canal during a long labor, a tear forms between the birth canal and the bladder and/or the rectum as fragile cells are destroyed by the pressure from the still-born baby’s body.   As a result, a hole is formed causing incontinence for the woman.

I met, interviewed and photographed two very young women who arrived at the hospital over a month ago from a village more then 3 days drive away.  Even though they did not know each prior, their shared experience has brought them very close as has their successful recovery from surgery. Both lost their babies after multiple days in obstructed labor that resulted in obstetric fistula injuries.  The missionaries that delivered them to the hospital have not been able to raise enough money to take them home so they have been stuck…. waiting.

This is where my real purpose became clear today.  I am taking them home.  But the expense of a private car to travel to their village is an extreme expense for any Ethiopian and for me as well.  I need your help to get them home.

I am going to make sure they get back to their village safe and sound. They need my help and I need yours.

If you would like to donate to this cause please click on this paypal link

Or you can go to our SocialWish page and donate that way.

Any extra funds raised will go to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa.


Here in Addis

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 7:26 am

Sorry for the delay in getting some photos up from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. it’s been a whirl wind few days as we all get sorted out and find our feet. The Hamlin hospital is quite a place helping woman to fix their fistulas from child birth. It is really so sad all the young woman walking around. They are all so tiny from malnutrition it’s hard to believe they could even get pregnant never mind give birth. The truth is these girls lost their babies from prolonged labor and an inability to get to proper obstetric health care. JUST HAD A BLACKOUT!! I wonder how long that will last for?. Anyway here are some photos of the hotel I’m staying at and another building next door. Guess the one I’m in.

In Brussels

In Travel on November 20, 2010 at 8:09 am

Spent the night flying from NYC to Brussels on the way to Ethiopia. I have 10 hours or so to kill here so I started walking around in town. Funny how all the streets lead to the place to spend money. I feel like a total tourist and I hate that. Anyway here are a few photos. Some horses ass and some kid peeing.

A man of his word

In Documentary work, Portraits on November 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

What are we if not men of our words?. I know I always try to be a man of my word. If I say it I try hard as hell to do it. Bob Simon of 60 Minutes is a man of his word. First off he said he would allow me to a photograph of him when I met him in late spring of 2010 and good to his word he did.  Of course one portrait is never enough for me so I asked if he could get me to anyone else at 60 Min, namely Morley Safer. A few weeks ago I received an email from Bob that said Morley was game. Wow I was so happy. I wanted to be cool and not call right away and look too eager, I dutifully waited 5 minutes then called. His assistant answered and after I introduced myself and told her that Bob gave me the number she passed me right to Morley. Next thing I know I’m talking to Morley Safer and man does he sound like Morley Safer from 60 Min. I explained what I wanted to do and we agreed on a date. Simple and straight to the point. The following week I show up to the 60 Min office with my gear and some great help from Diego. Unfortunately the room that I had used to photograph Bob was not available. I was a bit worried but after having a look at Morley’s office it was very clear to me that the office was much better then the unavailable room. Morley is from Toronto like me so we spoke of our home town and what we thought about some of the architecture in the city. Then I did some portraits in the hallway. I think we had it all done in about 40 min including lighting two sets and tearing it all down. I’m hoping to get to some other people and with Morley’s help I may just be able to do that. Here are a few of the shots.