Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Tree Falls into the Snake Pit…and OUT-TAKES from Kibera Shoots

While visiting the Nairobi National Museum and Snake House yesterday, a tree fell over, a large branch falling right into the open snake pit!  At first, when I heard the loud CRACK and CRASH, I ducked and hid behind a wall…you never know, right?  Then I shot a video and a panorama…

snake pit panorama

Thanks to my guesthouse peep, Maneesh, for suggesting the title of this post…

In closing my Africa chapter, I thought I’d post some out-takes, some images from ‘behind the scenes’…

Many thanks to Power of Hope Kibera (follow on Facebook) for this opportunity to travel to Kenya and document their wonderful project. There are many positive aspects to their work, but what really speaks to me is how it empowers the women and mothers of Kibera.  They are teaching their children and others about the importance of hygiene and then they are selling the home-made liquid soap: a win-win situation.

What would YOU do for clean hands?

I had a whole new blog post describing the WASH Festival in Kibera yesterday, with detailed descriptions of the various hygiene-related activities and photos to illustrate.  And I still might post that.


But at this moment I can’t get my mind off the children who eagerly lined up to patiently wait for their turn to use liquid soap, scrub for 20 seconds…then rinse…with water.  Such a simple task, yet so unreachable for so many people here.


Giraffe Tongues and Painted Faces

Kelly Fenson-Hood Okere  (Power of Hope Kibera) likes to take her special girls (and assorted others) on a day trip at least once during the summer.  Since the girls are in school during the week, we chose a Saturday to go to the Giraffe Center in Nairobi, a wildlife preserve with real live giraffes.  Feeding the animals  pellets was fun and a little scary, but it turns out that the face-painting was a more lasting experience.

Eyes are the Windows…

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am working as a documentary photographer for an NGO Power of Hope Kibera.  Kibera is the slum city right outside of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, in east Africa.

I took this opportunity for a number of reasons, the primary one being that I had recently lost my mother and felt that I needed a different perspective in my life.  My mother was, according to all who knew her,  generous and kind.  She had a special place in her heart for children, having been orphaned at a very young age herself.  So in a sense, I could say that I am doing this in honor of my mother.

Each day that I spend in the slum I am getting to know people better and better…and vice-versa!  It’s so cool to have them call me by name, hug me and kiss my cheeks.  The youngest children are less fearful of the white woman with the camera.  We will bring them prints a little later on, to show our appreciation.

I should say that we are also getting a lot of work done…building a storefront from which the women will sell liquid soap…video-taping simple water purification techniques, and the all-important hand-washing techniques.  More on that later.

Kibera: a Slice of Heaven

ATTENTION ALL YOU RE-BLOGGERS!  This work in Kibera is a result of an INVITATION by the Power of Hope Kibera (, to be a guest documentarian.   POHK was started by RESIDENTS of Kibera, Chris and Sylvia Okere.  They invited me to Kibera because they loved my photography and they know me personally. We all want to make this a better place to live, to improve the quality of life here.  The photographs will hopefully assist with that, that is our goal. 

I know it might sound odd to refer to Africa’s 2nd largest slum as  a ‘slice of heaven’, but the term just came to mind when I was looking over the day’s photos.  Indeed, there was solemnity, but the joyous looks on so many faces was quite contagious.

I’m in Kenya as a project documentary photographer for an NGO Power of Hope: Kibera.  It’s basically a hygiene project that empowers poor women through soap-making and selling.  There’s also an important education component.  This project overlaps with another NGO named Global Washes.  These grassroots movements were begun by activist members of the Kibera community and are now nurtured and supported by a wider group of non-governmental organizations.  More on that later.

Today I’m just going to post images that really caught my eye and my heart too, I must say.


I couldn’t resist this dad who kept balancing his 4 month old son, Dylan, on his hand!


These two chickens were peacefully resting on the doorstep looking inward to their futures…the stove


More balancing act…keeps them occupied and everyone else entertained…
IMG_5367 IMG_5368 IMG_5369

Keli Fenson-Hood Okere, co-pilot of Power of Hope…and my host in Kenya.IMG_5372 IMG_5377 IMG_5380 IMG_5381 IMG_5385This is a mission school in Kibera.  It’s very costly to send a child here and many of them are sponsored by individuals of means.  But these kids seem to love their school and the teachers keep some kind of magic control over their powerful energy…how DO they turn out such joyful little children?

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