Tag Archives: Lubumbashi

Addae’s Birthday Gift

Addae opened his eyes. Dim light was filtering through shutters but the sun was not yet up. His little sister, Echo, was sleeping quietly on a mat beside him. He could hear noise outside. Momma and Lale, Addae’s older sister, were preparing the morning meal. Poppa would already be out gleaning grain in the fields, but would return in time to eat before catching a tro tro into the city for work.

Addea jumped up and ran from the hut. He loved to run. He would run everywhere. This morning was no exception. He looked at the sky. It was pink.

He ran faster.

He would wash himself at the village well and race back before the sun touched his hut. Addae’s name meant Morning Sun. Momma said he earned that name by making her wait all night for delivery.

Addae arrived at the well only to find that Raziya and her mother were already there. Raziyah was two months older than Addae. She was fast, for a girl, but Addae would never concede that  she could out run him. He must have slept too long.

“Greetings, Addae.” Raziya’s mother smiled at him.

Addae bowed his head. “Good morning, Auntie. Hope you slept well.”  Addae was still breathing hard, making it difficult to speak the greeting. Raziya smiled. Addae frowned.

Raziya’s mother drew a pitcher of water from the well and poured it in a bucket. “Does the morning sun withhold its smile from our humble village?”  Raziya held the bucket for her mother.

“No, Auntie.” Addae grimaced.

“That is not much better. Come closer, Addae.”

Addae approached Raziya’s mother. Raziya scowled.

“Today is an important day. You must look your best.”

Addae nodded.

“Bow your head.”

Addae obeyed.

Raziya’s mother poured cool water over Addae’s head and torso. He sputtered, scrubbing his head, then his chest with his hands. He wiped the water and sleep from his eyes and smiled for the first time. Raziya and her mother smiled back.

“I thank  you for your kindness.”

Raziya watched Addae as her mother once again dipped the pitcher in the well. Addae looked up as morning rays touched tree tops.” He must hurry, he thought.  “God’s blessings, Auntie.”

“God’s blessings, Addae.”

Addae sprinted from the well, down a dusty path. He wove between huts with great speed. When he rounded a corner and came upon his own hut, he stopped, abruptly. Something  was different.

He looked to the sky. In spite of not being first to the well he had raced the sun and had won. Morning rays had not yet touched his hut.

“Momma?  Poppa?” he called.

No one answered.

The charcoal fire was burning, serpentine smoke snaking in the gentle morning breeze, and there were cakes on the fire. The clay oven was lit and bread was baking, but neither Momma, Lale or Echo were close by.

Addae entered the hut.

Momma? Lale? Echo?

He heard something outside and ran out of the hut.

“SURPRISE.”

Addae jumped. Momma, Poppa, Lale and Echo were all there smiling and laughing as the morning sun washed over them.  Addae laughed too.

“Greetings, my son, and birthday wishes,” Poppa said.

“Greetings, Poppa, and thank you,” Addae replied.

“We have a gift for you.”

“A gift?” He could see no gift.

“For your birthday,” Echo said, as Poppa drew a bundle wrapped in brown paper from behind his back. Addae’s eyes grew big and Poppa laughed. The paper crinkled as Addae took the package from Poppa.

“What is it?” Addae asked.

“You must open it, brother,” Lale said.

“Your sister speaks truth,” Momma laughed. “Open it.”

Addae beamed then tore into the package. When the paper fell away, he held up a brilliant blue, long sleeved polo shirt with three stripes on it and the word, Adidas.

“Put it on,” Momma said.

“It is Adidas,” Poppa said. “It will make you fast.”

“Addaedas,” Echo said. “like you.”

Addae put the shirt on over his naked chest and they all laughed. It was much too big.

“He will grow into it,” Lale said.

“He will grow out of it,” Momma said.

Poppa smiled. “Run, Addae. Run, before the morning sun climbs too high.”

Behind the scenes

The boy in the photograph was very proud of his  Adidas shirt. He told us it made him fast. He received it for his birthday. His parents bought it at a store in Accra which sold used clothing donated from the United States. In Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I saw one child with a Los Angeles Lakers jersey . I live near Lone Peak High School in Cedar Hills, Utah and was surprised to see a boy in Sierra Leone wearing a Lone Peak High School jersey.

I have been to Africa many times. It is a continent of contrasts not free from turmoil or strife. Yet, in my travels throughout the continent, I have been blessed by many people of kindness, faith and love. The story above is based on a visit to the village of Yamoransah, Ghana. There I met a family I grew to admire in a very short period of time. Their lives are much different from my own. Yet, we share a common desire, to see our children grow up in the light of the morning sun.

African Adidas
While his little sister shyly watches, this African boy stands proud in his Adidas.

 

Lubumbashi Uncle

Cedar City Art Walk Image 8.

Lubumbashi Uncle
After the storm, Uncle watched as we played with his brother’s family.

We’d been invited to visit a family in the town of Lubumbashi. The journey was rugged. It had rained. Roads were muddy. Occasional lighting flashed and thunder cracked. Their home was modest, brick and stone. Uncle sat outside watching us pull up in our Land Rover. He did not speak English. We could not communicate in words. As we played with his brother’s children, Uncle remained in his chair, following us with his eyes, perspiration glistening his skin in the moist afternoon heat. When I asked about his story, they simply said, “He has seen much.” I showed him my camera, hoping for permission to take his picture.

Our eyes met. He nodded, but did not smile.

For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2015/06/09/suu-features-exhibition-stories-tell/28764023/

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Happy Face, Lubumbashi, DR Congo

Cedar City Art Walk Image 4.

Crazy Face
When I showed him this picture, he laughed and laughed. So did his buddies.

Just before sunset, we stopped on the banks of the Lubumbashi river in the DR Congo. Families were washing clothes and bathing in the river. It was hot, and humid. When I pulled out my camera, I was surrounded by children, laughing, dancing and posing. We did not speak the same language, in words. But, the joy of the children was contagious. In a land so different from my own, we shared a laugh, and a smile.

For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2015/06/09/suu-features-exhibition-stories-tell/28764023/

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Utah Travels Photography Exhibit

Mud Bath
The secret to such smooth, smooth skin could be found in the mud of Lubumbashi River.

I am excited to announce that two of my photos, The Tree of Life and Mud Bath, were selected for the Utah Travels Photography Exhibit. The exhibit runs from March 7 through April 30, 2014. There is an opening reception Friday, March 7 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Come see a great exhibit and say hello. The reception is open to the public.

The Tree of Life
The legendary tree of life thrives in Africa.

Utah Travels Facebook

Utah Travels is a photo exhibit highlighting remarkable photographic images captured by Utahns during their diverse travel experiences.  These photos reflect the beauty, richness and diversity of people, events, nature, culture and all that celebrates humanity and planet earth.

Utah Cultural Celebration Center
1355 West 3100 South
WVC, UT 84119

www.culturalcelebration.org

Photos From Around the World

I thought, since it is New Years Eve, I would post a photo gallery of shots from some of the places I’ve been around the world. Sort of a “Best of” gallery from previous posts. I’ve been only blogging since August, so I have yet to post shots from everywhere I’ve been. And, I have yet to even start posting video from all of these places. That is what 2014 is for. Resolution 🙂

The world is a big, beautiful place, filled with interesting people, amazing sights, random coincidences and occasional tender mercies. I have been blessed to travel. I have been blessed to make friends on every continent. I hope to keep the friends I have made and make more as time goes by. However, my greatest blessings are found at home, with a warm fire, a good meal and my family, who love me.

I hope you enjoy the photographs. Happy New Year.

African Eyes–in Lubumbashi, DRC

They say Africa changes you. If you’ve been to Africa, spent time there, visited the people, you will understand.  I’ve been to Africa four times. This was my first time in Lubumbashi. I was surprised. My own stereotypes were both reinforced and shattered. In Lubumbashi, a fragile peace hung over the city as oppressive as the heat and humidity, infusing a cultural angst almost as heavy . I was the outsider. I was different. The children called me “Muzungu”, white face, not a compliment. They smiled and laughed, not with me. My camera lens brought them running, surrounding me, dancing, playing and posing. In their eyes I saw joy, and innocence. The adults looked on, skeptical, questioning, challenging. Their eyes were reserved, hooded, holding back, keeping their stories from me. Many turned away. Some shouted insults. Those that did not were watching to see what I would do with their likeness. I took their pictures. I took them with me. I took them in, a part of me. I will not forget. In their African eyes I will never be the same.

The Men and Children of Bande Village

About a half-hour drive outside of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a little village called Bande. They grow avocados and fruit and sell them by the roadside to survive. We stopped for a visit. The children immediately surrounded us. They spoke Swahili and French. I spoke neither. With help, we asked the village Elder for permission to take this photo. He smiled and nodded agreement. I thought, for a moment, that the one woman in the shot was the mother. Not so. She is the older sister. The women of the village would not come out of their termite-clay-brick huts. The three men in the shot were the older brother, the uncle and the neighbor. The Elder also would not be in the shot. He was standing beside me looking at my view finder. With a small purchase, you can make friends for life in Bande Village.

Bande Village
The men and children of Bande Village.

Mud Baths, the Secret to Smooth Skin

It was late afternoon and the sun was setting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We stopped briefly at Lubumbashi River and were immediately surrounded by children. They posed for our pictures and asked us for money. They played and sang and danced. It was joyful and fun. This young boy was in the middle of a rather thorough mud bath when we arrived. I’m not sure what the optimum amount of time for a proper exfoliating mud bath is, but this boy seems to have it figured out. If you want smooth skin, come to the DRC and stop by Lubumbashi River just about any afternoon. Someone will surely teach you the secrets of smooth, smooth skin.

Mud Bath in Lubumbashi River
The secret to such smooth, smooth skin could be found in the mud of Lubumbashi River.

How to Build Your Own Mountain

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the province of Lubumbashi is known for mining. Copper is king in the Congo and Lubumbashi leads the way. The locals are proud of their mines. They are also proud of their mountain (wait, I didn’t know there were mountains in the DRC).There aren’t–well, maybe just one. Perhaps because the Congo is flat, the Congolese people built their own mountain out of tailings, residue, slag, and not so environmentally friendly stuff that copper mines produce. Lubumbashi mountain (I’m not sure that if an Englishman went up, it would still be a mountain) has become a symbol of the province. It certainly dominates the landscape. In a strange sort of African way, the people are proud of their mountain and all it represents, including the economic impact and the environmental damage the mines appear to be doing. So, if you want to build a mountain, invest in mines. Or, come to the DRC, they have plenty of mountain making stuff to go around.

Lubumbashi Mountain
Lubumbashi Mountain is made from the left over materials from the mines surrounding Lubumbashi.