Photo Stories: African Women and Kids
Affected by AIDS Share their Lives
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The welcome is big - in Maputo

In August 2007, children orphaned by AIDS living in Maputo, Mozambique spent time with American photographers and filmmakers to produce a body of work that documents the joys and challenges of daily life.

In this web video, experience highlights from the children's photographs. The images are set to a song performed by the kids, their friends, and their neighbors at a local community center on August 7. For more images and stories, visit the project website.



making stories with the kids in maputo

mediastream topic: Maputo
The Mozambican handshake
Farida

Making sandals
Namani

Young street style
Andre

Air four
Aires

Little girl
Varlito

Football
Antonio Augustin

Brother and sister
Andre

Baby backpacks
Antonio Augustin

Higher power
Joaquim

Paper memories
Joaquim

 

latest activity in Maputo

Reflections

Max Barrett

Posted 12:55AM on Friday, August 17, 2007 Pacific Time

This has been a great trip! I met lots of new people, all very
interesting and kind. I was surprised to see how quickly the kids
picked up photography, they were like instant photographers!
I was also surprised how happy the kids were with their situations. It
makes me appreciate what I have even more. And now I have many
stories to tell when I get back to school.


Two weeks in Mozambique

Steve Barrett
Photographer

Posted 2:30PM on Thursday, August 16, 2007 Pacific Time

We have been working with these kids in Mozambique for 2 weeks now! The kids' images speak for themselves. I have been impressed with how quickly some of the students have picked up on the nuances, in spite of the obvious language and technology issues. Though being on their own (some for most of their lives) these kids are well-mannered, enthusiastic and have a good capacity to learn. By and large, most of the subjects we run into are very friendly, and don't mind having their photos taken, especially by a kid with a camera.

Max (my son who turned 13 on this trip) has been a great asset to my small group, taking notes, keeping his eyes open, operating the cell phone, helping to make lunches, doing small errands, and running interference with curious neighborhood kids so the Reencontro kids can work. He also has the stealth asset of being a disarming way to connect to these kids that are about his age.

Most of the homes I have been to have no electricity and the water is brought from outside. They typically cook outside too. It is a way of life that is largely roughing it, with bits of contemporary life that I am still processing. It probably makes for some long nights in the winter.

It has been a pleasure working with the team assembled by Lynn and Jim of Venice Arts, with each member filling niches as needed. Kudos to all!

The photographers who are here to teach were invited to not take photos for the first week and concentrate on the kids. So this week I took a few pics of my own ...


The great Maputo bagel hunt

Eugene Ahn

Posted 2:03PM on Thursday, August 16, 2007 Pacific Time

Jim showed up at the hotel yesterday very excited. During the day, he had discovered a place that does bagels and coffee. A place that he said was worth going back to.

Bagels and coffee in Maputo. I don't drink coffee, but the idea had an immediate allure.

Jim couldn't recall the name of the place. But he knew it's being run by two Americans and is located in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in town, near the Irish Embassy.

Enough information to go on. The bagel hunt was on.

So this Thursday morning, we piled into a run-down taxi parked in front of the hotel. The driver held together two wires sticking out of the steering column to start the car, and we rode the taxi's sad, rattling frame into what could only be described as the Mozambician dream: Paved roads with speedbumps. Multi-story mansion-sized homes on generous lots. Eight-foot-tall perimeter walls. Uniformed guards.

And lots of construction. It appears there's a building boom going on in Maputo. A RE/MAX realty office is slated to open up a branch in the neighborhood's small but impressive office block that also contains a beautician, a cash machine with armed guards, and our bagel pad, Cafe Sol.

We spent a leisurely morning on the sun patio enjoying a most unlikely breakfast.

It seems only right to see first-hand how, or at least where, the wealthy in this town live. And how they live. It's not much different from how the wealthy live anywhere in the world. Usually the rich and the poor don't live together. The whole point of being rich is so that you don't have to be poor.

But not far from this spot of bageled bliss is a sight that graphically illustrates the intricate link between economic classes, how the rich and the poor are not separate, but instead, more like twins separated at birth while still performing in roles that enable and sustain the character and identity of the other.

Jim led us to a spot where posh homes that would be considered mansions by most standards are lined up on one side of the road. On the other side of this same road, clusters of the most primitive shacks imaginable provide a surreal counterpoint to the city's divide between the rich and the poor.

We've spent a lot of time over the past two weeks in Maputo suburbs where the homes are held up more by necessity and love than by economic wealth or the sound construction that such wealth can buy. These meager habitations, as depicted in so many of the photographs being made by the kids, lack the most basic amenities such as electricity, running water, windows, and sometimes roofing. Truly, in these cases, the house is small.

It's amazing, then, to see mansion after mansion sporting perimeter walls topped with electrical security wire. Some homes in the slums don't even have electricity. But it seems most of the mansions have so much access to modern infrastructure that they can liberally utilize electricity in punitive land security measures.

It's amazing, further, to see shacks and the mansions sharing the same road. Odds and evens of the same street address will determine whether you're a have or a have not. Whether you can walk down the street for your hot bagel sandwich, or whether you grow corn at the base of a hill covered in your neighborhood's trash that will never get picked up and hauled away.


Impressions

Carlos Litulo
Photographer
Mozambican Photography Association

Posted 8:45AM on Thursday, August 16, 2007 Pacific Time

You know, it was a unique opportunity to work on a project like this. I remember when Thierry from UNICEF contacted us. I didn't understand the full dimension of the project at that time. When Tomas contacted Jim to find out more, he told Tomas to check the project website for information. I looked it up and when I saw it, I said whoa this is a huge project. At that moment, I forgot about everything and wanted to be involved in the project. I have been working in so many projects like this, but this one is different because it is involving special kids, orphans. Also it was important to me because I had the opportunity to work with people from a different culture, with different knowledge and different skills. So I've learned a lot. I would be happy to see the kids getting involved in photography much deeper like I saw here. What was amazing was they cope so very well with the digital format.


Workshop impressions

Farida
Maputo project participant

Posted 8:37AM on Thursday, August 16, 2007 Pacific Time

Para mim o workshop foi muito interessante porque aprendi muita coisa relaccionada com a fotografia e nao so, fiz muitos amigos, aprendi e ensinei o pouco que ate hoje sei.
Durante duas semanas terei muitas fofos, entrevistei algumas criancas orfas da associacao reecontro que participaram nom workshop, oque foi bom para mim porque conheci as suas estorias, o seu dia-a-dia e mais.

Sendo eu uma fazedora de programas infantis de radio saberei como comunicar os ouvintes sobre os problems que dizem respeito a todos e que afectam na sua maioria as criancas caso concreto da grande doenca que e o SIDA que deixa muitas criancas orfas como estas que comigo participaram no workshop, criancas estas que de certeza tem e terao uma historia para contar, saom responsaveis de familias com os seus 17,18 anos.

Gostaria que esta iniciativa nao parase por aqui porque no futuro teremos grandes-pequenos fotografos.

Translation from Portuguese to English:

For me, the workshop was very interesting because I learned a lot of things related with photography and not only that, I have made so many new friends. I learned and I taught the little I know until today up to now. During these two weeks, I took so many photographs and interviewed a few orphans from Reencontro who took part in the workshop. It was good for me because I had the opportunity to review their stories.

Working for children's radio, I feel I now know more how to communicate to my audience and tell them about the problems that affect most of these kids, who in this case, lost their parents through AIDS, which has made so many orphans so far. For the kids who participated in this workshop, I believe these kids who are 17 or 18 years old and who are responsible for taking care of their families have a great opportunity to tell their own stories in the first person.

I would be so glad if this initiative should continue. If so, in the future we will have great young photographers.



related links
Children learn to use photography to capture their reality and express their views
UNICEF - Convention on the Rights of the Child
Global HIV/AIDS - The CDC's Emergency Plan in Mozambique
UNAIDS.org Mozambique country information
UNICEF - Mozambique country page
UNICEF - Mozambique information portal page

 

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I would like the world to see the love that I have for my grandmother and the life we share together.
Braselino
Maputo project participant


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