Last week I returned from leading a creatives team to Ethiopia. My truly wonderful team included professional videographers and photographers, an author, and a professor of graphic design for social justice.
We landed in Ethiopia prepared to create material for databases of media for 5 incredible organizations. But how can you ever prepare to interact with trafficked children, special needs orphans, impoverished communities, kids who live on the streets, and so much more? While my team was incredible, making beautiful images and video, I was even more proud of them for being vulnerable and for letting themselves be affected by what they saw. We spent many a day holding it all together while we worked and then letting the tears flow the moment we were alone. But it wasn’t only the sad. Ethiopia and its people hold so much beauty and so much for us to learn from and bring home. We were also moved by the community, honesty, and beauty we saw (and the coffee…how can you not be moved by the coffee!)
One aspect that was extremely important for us was to document the people as dignified equals often reminding them that the photos were for them and for telling their stories and not for us. Pity puts people down, but joining together lifts people up.
I have much more to show and more specific experiences to blog. But I thought I’d start out by showing you the people and the beauty of Ethiopia.