Thursday, April 26, 2007

Famine Feed at the Watering Hole

(Written Saturday April 28, 22:35 Kenya time – regarding Thursday, April 26)

Today would be the first day of truly going out in the bush. Yes, this orphanage is in the bush already (4 hours or more of driving led to more and more extreme bushiness, but least the orphanage had buildings). Todays stop was a location called the Watering Hole. Along the way we stopped at a water pump, built quite literally in the middle of nowhere with funds donated by Dan Gray. He donated $40,000 to build four pumps at a cost of $10k each. The pump is solar powered or hand cranked. Unfortunately something was wrong with the powered side of things, so it had to be hand pumped. A local nomadic family appeared out of nowhere and got their pictures taken with Carol (who they recognized) and the pump. One of them had two sick children with her, both orphans. They piled into the van with us for a trip to the orphanage, in what I would soon learn to be a very common practice for us.

From there we went on to the watering hole which was, by all accounts, an actual watering hole. A couple of small lakes were sitting in the middle of the desert, with several nomadic groups/families, goats, and camels surrounding it. They were all there for the famine feed. Again we were met with an amazing array of song and dance, which quite literally went on for a couple of hours. During the ceremony I was adorned with a beaded headband and a metal bracelet; gifts from Pokot women so happy to see us with our food supplies.

What's been remarkable about my ability to photograph the people here is how well I'm accepted. When I first arrive anywhere, I'm met with wary glances. But Carol soon explains that through my photograph, the IHF hopes to raise more money for them. And this is always met with huge cheers and then a sudden willingness to be in front of the camera. I'm capturing some amazing images of the people out here.