Imagine My Fears And Theirs

I returned from my first trip to Uganda on August 21, 2018.  It was amazing in so many ways. However, the most amazing thing of all was all the young women I met and the lives I get to change through photography.

Along the way there were many challenges and roadblocks. For instance, I thought I had settled on a school, only to learn that the girls cannot attend school always because they were needed at home to fetch water, take care of the younger children or work in the family plot/garden; or the school lacked electricity so it would be difficult to train let alone have enough light for the girls to operate a camera.

After months of back and forth, my friend Venex of Rwenzori Safari’s, who was also instrumental in helping me put this all together, suggested we work with girls who had either graduated and were working journalists or in the midst of graduating from a local journalism and media school in Kampala.

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It took me exactly a year to bring it all together and I was afraid of what was about to happen as I walked into the room, not knowing what to expect. 14 out of the 15 girls showed up and were eager and excited, if not also afraid to learn. It was beyond expectations and even with all the electricity and internet challenges we faced, we pulled it off.

Over the two days of training I ran through basics, such as how to hold a camera; how to operate the various buttons on the camera (each camera being different); how to work with the exposure triangle – aperture, shutter and ISO. Composition and perspective were also covered.

I also covered tips on how to succeed in one's career and how to tell a story using your camera.- in light of them embarking into journalism.  A tough male-oriented for the most part career!

The girls were given ample time to practice what they learned and as all of them had never held a camera before, the images they are producing is nothing short of astounding. They won’t win photography awards at this time but if there were an award for perseverance and tenacity they would all win.

Further training has been kindly provided by @KelbyOne with a license for the girls to learn photography through video’s and tutorials. They also must submit photos for review bi-weekly to be kept in the program and for me to see that this was all worthwhile.

In Uganda, children are taught never to question or even voice when you don’t understand – I would keep reminding them that they were allowed to speak up, let me know if I was going too quickly or if they were not understanding the material. After constantly and empathetically reminding them, they started to come out of their shells and at the end I was rewarded with hugs and thank-you’s.

However, the thanks go to these girls – who stepped out of their comfort zone; who took on a challenge to learn a new skills; who trusted their instincts to try something new and to trust a complete stranger (me) to guide them through learning photography.

It is my goal to return at least twice a year – the first part being to train the girls in photography and keep up their training until they are at a level, where they are the teacher to another girl.

The second part will be to take other photographers and enthusiasts with me to help with the training and improve their own photography on the beautiful sites we will see along the western part of the country.

More to come on future posts about this but for now here are some images from the training. All images were taken by my volunteer Daniel Moxie https://www.facebook.com/daniel.moxie and https://www.instagram.com/moxie_photography1

Thank you to the following people, who enabled me to make this happen!

Venex Watebawa of @Rwenzori Safari’s @Henry’s Newmarket and specifically Bryan Weiss and Martin Ingles @KelbyOne @Downtown Camera Maylynn Quan of @Uganda Kids Canada Valerie Hill of @Dreamshare Canada @Richard Mewhinney @Rotary Newmarket Kenneth Mulinde of @Youth Arts Movement Uganda Paul Smith of @Newmarket Soccer Club Friends and family :)