It is early morning at Sindo Main Beach in Homa Bay when the fishing boats arrive. The smell of fish is already strong in the air. White egret birds circle and call out, looking to steal a meal. As a new boat arrives, a man wading waist deep in the water shows it where to land. Dozens of women race forward to get their buckets in the boat, reserving a portion of the catch. Fishermen scoop up large handfuls of tiny omena fish, quickly filling up the buckets. Most women hand over 1,000 shillings ($10 USD) but a few do not. For these women, there is an understanding that they will meet the fisherman later for sex.Continue reading “Sex for fish: teenage girls risk pregnancy and HIV”
It’s a sunny late afternoon at Agape Children’s Ministry in Kisumu. Children run around, playing football or netball with staff. Others play checkers with stones on a painted table top. A girl swings on a tyre, trying to make it go as high as she can. Shouts and laughter fill the air. Meanwhile, a young man looks pensively at a row of bunk beds in the boy’s dormitory. Unlike the children outside, most of whom will be in the institution for just a few months before returning home, Samora spent almost his entire childhood in care.
I first visited Indonesia ten years ago, when I was based in UNICEF’s Asia-Pacific regional office in Bangkok. At the time, I was blown away by the country. Even Jakarta, mostly known as a characterless urban sprawl, impressed me with its little known gems such as the old docks at Sunda Kelapa. I was fortunate to make a local friend, Charlie, who took me there one weekend at sunrise to photograph the wooden boats loading up with cargo. I wrote about the experience at the time in my previous blog, Siamese Dream.Continue reading “Photos: On the waterfront at Sunda Kelapa”
It’s a bright, sunny morning on the last day of term at State Junior Secondary School 3 in Klaten, and the schoolyard is full of children in uniforms, chatting and playing. Klaten is one of the poorest towns in the Indonesian island of Java. It suffers from being located halfway between the more prosperous cities of Solo and Yogyakarta. Most families in this area are rice farmers and are vulnerable to poverty due to bad harvests.Continue reading “Everyday superheroes: teenagers fight bullying in schools”
While most of my photography for UNICEF focuses on children, I’ve also taken portraits of the adults who work with and care for them in schools, health centres and elsewhere. Malawians are generally friendly and welcoming and make good subjects for photos. Older people in particular have faces full of character, although unlike children they take photos very seriously and have to be coaxed into providing a smile. People dress very smartly, like the headmaster above, even if they live in remote rural areas without water or electricity. Continue reading “Photos: People of Malawi”
One of the pleasures of working for UNICEF is travelling to remote parts of Malawi to write stories about children and their families. Sometimes I’m accompanied by a professional photographer but other times I go on my own. This gives me some great opportunities to photograph children. Some of these children are the subjects of stories I wrote, while others are just curious kids from the neighbourhood who came to see what was going on. Like most places in the world, children in Malawi love having their photo taken, But here they see cameras much less often, so are that much more excited. Continue reading “Photos: Children of Malawi”
Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa and forms almost the entire western border of Malawi. The country’s colonial-era name was Nyasaland, literally ‘Lake Land’, and much of its tourism is focused around the lake. It has a unique ecosystem, including the world’s only freshwater cichlids. Standing on the shore at the widest point of the lake, you cannot see the other side. Looking at the sandy beaches, palm trees and small islands, it’s hard to believe that it’s not the ocean. One small giveaway is the fresh water snail shells scattered along the waterline. And the smell of salt is absent from the air.
On a crisp, clear and unusually cloudless day during the rainy season, I made the peak of Dedza mountain with my friend Matthias and local guide James. The mountain rises to almost 2,200 metres above sea level. It towers over the nearby town of Dedza, which at 1,600 metres is already the highest town in Malawi. After a tough ascent to two radio towers at the near end of the mountain, we made our way along an indistinct path through scrubland and rocks, climbing a gently sloping plateau to the peak at the far end. Here, we were rewarded with a clear 360-degree view across central Malawi. Continue reading “Higher ground: climbing the mountains of Malawi”
The sound of a bell rings out to announce that the school day has just finished at Kathebwe Primary School. It’s a hot, sunny day. Children run outside and start to disperse. Some go home to nearby villages, while others start kicking a ball around on the school field. A third group joins their mothers and younger siblings, who are sitting with a hundred or more flood victims in the shade of a large tree. Since the heavy rains and floods of early March, this school has doubled as an evacuation centre. Continue reading “On the move: mobile clinic helps malnourished children”
It was the middle of the night on 7 March when Annie decided to flee her home with her children, including baby Ndaziona, who had been born just two days before. It had been raining for four days, the nearby Shire river was rising, and the family’s mud brick and straw house was becoming precarious. Annie woke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. “I looked outside and saw lots of water coming,” she recalls. “I took the children and ran. We got maybe 10 or 20 metres before the house collapsed behind us.” Continue reading “Water of life: helping two-week-old Ndaziona survive”