Nature as Metaphor

What DO I see in Nature?  Beauty…becoming my metaphor for melancholy.  Not depressing, rather, embracing the fullness of being fully present.

Reservoir Reflection


Why We Do What We Do

In her words, this is the reason I do what I do for the POWER OF HOPE KIBERA:

The Reason Why

Kelly Fenson-Hood
Executive Director, Power of Hope Kibera

People often ask me why I do this work. I’m not sure why, but I never give a very straightforward answer. I guess it’s because it’s personal and it makes me feel vulnerable somehow. Well, I’ve been working with Power of Hope Kibera for three years, and I guess it’s time to share.

When I first met Eventa and Emma, they didn’t speak English. They were five years old.
I spoke basically no Swahili.
But somehow I understood Emma ask Eventa if she knew what my name was.
Eventa just shrugged.

That was six years ago.
Now their English is almost perfect.
It’s absolutely amazing.

My first research partner and I sponsor the girls to attend private school in the slum.
These are two girls that got a chance to succeed.
I empowered them to go to school.
And in front of my eyes, I watched them grow up and transform into smart, beautiful, bright girls.
But the thing is that the Power of Soap Project impacted their lives behind the scenes.
This project kept them healthy so they could attend school.

I am proud that I created a program that makes a real difference with big problems.
And to see first hand how it made a difference in the lives of these girls…
Well, there’s the answer.
I do it all for them.
For Emma and Eventa.
And for all the little ones.

 (Please click the link below to watch our video:)

#bestcityintheworld (Barcelona…or San Sebastián?)

This series was featured on!  Read about it here…

First stop on this Spain journey is Barcelona, capital city of Catalonia. It is an important cultural center, renowned especially for its architecture, particularly the works of Antoni Gaudí and Montaner, both of whose works have been designated World Heritage Sites. The people are friendly, the food is spectacular, and the beaches are bustling with activity.  And, it seems, everyone is an art lover (or at least a lover!).

MOVING right along…we took the train to Pamplona (Iruña, in Basque), a wonderful little city in its own right, first stop in the Basque Country and home of the famous Iruña Café–in what’s known as Hemingway Corner–and the ancient Citadel with walls spread throughout.  I believe it’s most widely known as the location of the “Running of the Bulls”, which takes place every July.  Oops, missed it this time around!

Then, we boarded another train to the NEXT best city in the world…San Sebastián/Donostia (in Basque) !  This is truly my favorite place.  It is close to the region which my husband’s family hails from, which is another reason that we are here.  And I’m enjoying seeing familial similarities in the people here.

Honestly, San Sebastián seems to have it all.  Beautiful weather, beaches, ocean bay, picturesque marina, little mountains, a super clean and interesting old city.  The Basque museum is fabulous: San Telmo Museum, contains everything you need to know about Basque culture. It was here I learned about the “Construcción Vacía” (Empty Construction) movement and fell in love with its form, substance and simplicity. I’ve got two examples below, one by Eduardo Chillida, the other by Jorge Oteiza (both Basque artists).

Lastly, folks here are really into fitness, they run, bike, swim, hike–we would fit right in.  Maybe we will come back and stay someday…

2014 Lucie Award: Deeper Perspective

Thank you for the Honorable Mention!

Kibera: A Slice of Heaven…see the highlights here…

Balancing Act

Wire Jump Rope

Third Time’s a Charm

This is my third trip to Kibera, in Nairobi Area, Kenya, to do volunteer work as a photographer with Power of Hope Kibera (  As I’ve said before, there are many non-profits working in the slum here, but this one is unique in a number of ways.  First, it was started by local residents, several of whom remain key players in the organization.  Secondly, POHK merges private sector business approaches (micro-enterprises) with research-based behavior change strategies.  The ultimate goal here is to reduce diarrheal disease in children, which is the major cause of death in children under age 5. We would like to thank Toilet Hackers for funding this project. We would also like to thank Alfalfa’s and individual donors for their generous contributions.

On My Way to Kibera!

I’m getting excited about my upcoming trip to Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, leaving September 3, 2014, to continue my work with the Power of Hope Kibera (  Stay tuned for more adventures in hygiene and friendship.

Just to remind myself and everyone else what it’s like there, here’s a GoPro Video I shot last February… (we enter the actual slum at minute 4:15)

The soap sellers' daughters enjoying some traditional chai and chapatis (in Kibera)

The soap sellers’ daughters enjoying some traditional chai and chapatis (in Kibera)

Read more about it on…

also, see the entire portfolio on

i-Click Andalucía! Join us May 3~May 12, 2015…(NEW DATES!)

Join us for a unique and fun

iPhone Photography Tour of Southern Spain

Hostal Persal View of Madrid

View of downtown Madrid at sunset

Sign up NOW(click here) for this unique opportunity to tour southern Spain, the fabled Andalucía, with Spain travel expert/flamenco dancer Salli Gutierrez of and guest photographer Maureen Ruddy Burkhart THIS COMING OCTOBER 4~13, 2014.  All types of photography enthusiasts welcome!

We will meet in exciting Madrid, soak in the local flavor,  then travel to the legendary Córdoba, home of the Moorish Mezquita Mosque/Cathedral.  Then on to beautiful Sevilla, known for its food, wine, flamenco and extraordinary Moorish/mudejar architecture and the medieval Alcázar palace.

Next, we go to Jerez, home of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, the famed Central Market, the Jerez Cathedral.  We will explore the ancient squares and avenues where the locals live, work, and play.  (Optional side trips to Cádiz and Granada, home of the Alhambra.)

in Córdoba

Mezquita in Córdoba


All photos courtesy Maureen Ruddy Burkhart…shot with an iPhone 4s or 5s, utilizing the amazing array of photo apps (Hipstamatic preferred in this series).

The deadline for registration is fast approaching…don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to capture the essence of the legendary Andalucía region of Southern Spain!  Click here now to register…

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