Monthly Archives: June 2018

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Over two years ago I put a call out on Facebook looking for someone to help me with our social media needs. Although many raised their hands to help, @butterfly109 not only agreed to help, she has become an invaluable contributor to @wattsoflove in many, many ways. Meredith now manages all of our social media pages, write articles, travels with us and photographs some of our amazing stories and light recipients. Don’t let the size of that camera fool you in this photo, Meredith has a world class eye!
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Thank you Meredith for saying “yes, I will help” and remaining so dedicated as we continue to grow. Your talents have help put us where we are today and we are so fortunate to have you as a part of our Watts of Love.
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I love that our friendship and collaboration started with a “bunny ears” photos of me and through the amazing @jjcommunity. I am always humbled by you willingness to help, serve others and your amazing talents. Thank you for being my friend, collaborator and partnering in crime late night in pubs in Ireland.

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This is my friend and assistant in Uganda Enyuny Patrick. For every day we were in Uganda, Patrick was there to help me. I will admit I am not easy to keep up with when shooting photos and video. I move around a lot, act like a fool to get the shots I want and hyper focus at times. I get into a zone. Patrick always remained calm and cool.

One early morning as I was trekking around and discovering Uganda, I saw this lovely well manicured house painted in the beautiful African light. As I was just about to snap a shot, out walked Patrick smiling and waving to me dressed for a Wall Street interview. It was the perfect surprise. As he walked towards me, I could see his warm and joyful smile and here keys jingling as if announcing his approach. Any man that has enough keys to warrant a key chain on his belt, is a man in a position of responsibility and most importantly, entrusted to many locks in life.

Patrick’s inclusion in this photograph standing so proudly in front of all that he has worked so hard to achieve completed this photo like a diamond sparkles in light.

Thank you Patrick for all of your support, laughter and patience with me and all of our @wattsoflove and #U4Uganda team. Can’t wait to see you again!

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Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. —Victor Borge Alanga Uganda never looked so bright. Light changes communities. #woluganda2018 #givelight #wol #u4uganda

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Work is not a man’s punishment. Work is man’s reward, his strength and if viewed in the right light, work provides man meaning, accomplishment and pleasure.
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This Geofrey Okello. He sharpens, knives, machetes and any other tools that need a sharp edge to them.
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Geofrey reconfigured the rear axel of his bike by connecting a large grinding wheel. As he pedals, the grinding wheel spins and he can sharpen tools for a living. It was a totally ingenious invention and one of the best businesses I have ever seen on all my trips.
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He rides his bike from village to village and charges a few schillings per item that needs sharpening.
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As the sun was setting one evening, I saw him working and sparks flying as he was rushing to complete all of the tools he had piled up to be sharpened. He was thrilled to receive his new solar light and repeatedly thanked us for providing him one so he could work even after the sunset.
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Light = Opportunity!
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#woluganda2018 #givelight #wol #u4uganda

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Work is not a man’s punishment. Work is man’s reward, his strength and if viewed in the right light, work provides man meaning, accomplishment and pleasure.
.
This Geofrey Okello. He sharpens, knives, machetes and any other tools that need a sharp edge to them.
.
Geofrey reconfigured the rear axel of his bike by connecting a large grinding wheel. As he pedals, the grinding wheel spins and he can sharpen tools for a living. It was a totally ingenious invention and one of the best businesses I have ever seen on all my trips.
.
He rides his bike from village to village and charges a few schillings per item that needs sharpening.
.
As the sun was setting one evening, I saw him working and sparks flying as he was rushing to complete all of the tools he had piled up to be sharpened. He was thrilled to receive his new @wattsoflove solar light and repeatedly thanked us for providing him one so he could work even after the sunset.
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Light = Opportunity!

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Father Phillip Berrigan once said…. “The poor tell us who we are, the profits tell us who we could be, so we hide the poor and kill the profits.”
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Although we purposely do not focus our imagery and stories on the hardships, poverty and pain that the people we serve endure everyday; it would be a misrepresentation for us to not occasionally look squarely, compassionately and sincerely look into the eyes of the poor to remind ourselves and our supporters of the continual need of our mission.
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Chances are if you are reading this post right now, you are viewing this post on a device that costs more then this boy’s family will make in a year, maybe two.
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We saw many, many children in Uganda just like this one dressed in tattered, dirty and disintegrating clothes. No shoes. Malnourished. Undereducated and struggling in a ruthless, hard and difficult life. None of these boys choices put him where he is today. None!
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This beautiful young boy was born in a certain place, in a certain time and to two parents that most likely have struggled since they were born as well. It is the cycle of generational poverty passed on from parents to their children. This cycle often times predetermines someone’s life the moment they come into the world. It is unfair. It is inhumane. It is not right. But, it can be changed!
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If we all do our small part, take action, hold ourselves accountable and truly acknowledge that “we are our brothers keeper” we can break the cycle of generation poverty.
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If Father Berrigan is right and the poor tell us who we are, I ask you…. what do you believe this boy pictured here is saying to you?

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The people is Alenga, Uganda have a hard life. There is no doubt about it. Many, including children as young as 5 years old have to walk or bike for miles and miles to get clean water. For some, clean water is so far that they choose to use dirty water from swamps, creeks or puddles. Drinking dirty water has so many health hazards and can kill people.
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If getting to clean water isn’t hard enough, they then have to wait their turn to manually pump water, fill their containers and then travel all the way home carrying or balancing full, heavy containers of the precious liquid. Some balance 6-8, twenty five gallon containers on
rudimentary bikes. Many of the bikes have flat tires or are missing seats. Most families have to complete this same tasks over and over every day!
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This families new solar light will allow this girl the opportunity to see better as she and may others travel before sunrise to beat the crowds and be home in time to then walk or bike for miles to school. Light changes everything.

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After photographing this woman in a group photo, she asked interpreter, if I would take a picture with her so she could frame it and put it in her home. Of course I agreed and obligated. Once we completed the photo for her, I said “now we take a special photo for me.” Before I gently kissed he on the cheek I said in Longi… “Yaaaa chill.” You are beautiful.

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Think of a mix of Naomi Cambell, Tyra Banks and Beyoncé all in one. This young Uganda girl had all the attitude, presence and self confidence of tomorrow next worldwide superstar.

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The local people in Uganda burn spear grass in their huts to have light at night. When we asked to see what it was like when they burn the grass in their homes and capture this method of lighting, the fumes and smoke were overwhelming! .
I could not imaging using this type of lighting source each night and what it must do to someone’s lungs and eyes. I had to vacate the hut after 10 minutes! It was a terrible experience and I emerged red eyed and coughing from the hut. Light changes lives.

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The journey home. #woluganda2018 #givelight #wol #u4uganda

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Early morning Uganda. (Same location.) 7:21 a.m. Painted sky. Not a sound in the air. Wet from the heavy rains. Last day here.

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UGANDA MEN (Part 1) Decided to continue my iPhone only portrait series. Shot only one or two shots of some of the men that were at the martyrs celebration on Sunday and one of our @wattsoflove light distribution. #iphoneonly #shotoniphone #iphone

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This is your typical home/structure in Uganda. Most families have three to four structures in a circle a few feet apart exactly like the one seen here. One hut is for sleeping and living, one for cooking, another for storage. They are made from clay bricks dried in the sun, covered in colored clay. The floor elevated above the dirt is made of cow dung. The roof is a special grass called obia. It is collected during the dry season. People have been making homes exactly like this in Africa for hundreds of years.

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Early morning Uganda. (Same location.) 7:16 a.m. Heavy clouds. School bells. Damp. Feels like a Monday.

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Today all of Ugandans celebrated the “feat of the martyrs.” It was a very moving experience on many levels. There was so such pageantry, song, dance and laughs.

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Early morning Uganda sunrise. (Same location.) 6:46 a.m. Bright. Calm. Serene. The people I see waiting for the bus think I am nuts for showing up in the same place, waiting, clicking then leaving for the past three days.

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Six years ago there were almost no brick homes in this area of Uganda. Now as we are driving about you and can see and sense that progress is slowly coming for the people. #woluganda2018 #givelight #wol #u4uganda U4Uganda

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She looked through my lens, into my eyes and touched my soul. @wattsoflove recipient. #woluganda2018 #givelight #wol #u4uganda

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Ever wonder how people pump gas when there is no electricity for the gas pump? Filler up Uganda style.

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Early morning Uganda sunrise. (Same location as yesterday.) 6:35 a.m. Clear. Still. Tranquil. What a difference a day makes.

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What is Mission life like in Uganda? Here are some various pictures from around the location where were staying.

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Early morning Uganda sunrise. 6:47 a.m. Foggy. Silent. Wonderful.

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UGANDA STUDENTS (part 2) I am so grateful to be able to take tell stories, take photos and capture videos of all the people here. Although I work hard at my craft, it never feels like work when I am in the field creating. It’s a calling that awakens my creative soul. These past few days of photographing these children in Uganda has awaken something in me that has been asleep for sometime. I don’t know where it went or how it got snuffed out. I am so grateful I can feel a flicker of life in my heart as I was reviewing these images and posting these comments. I know today my heart is full.
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As you view these photo of these students, it is my hope that you see all of their AMAZING potential—not poverty. #woluganda2018 #u4uganda

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UGANDA STUDENTS (part 1) Visited one of the local grade schools today in Uganda. Decided I would do another “cell phone only” photo shoot with a few of the 200+ student at the school. Shot one photo of each child and moved on the the next one. Couldn’t do it any other way since I had a crowd of kids behind me pulling on my arms to see the photo on the screen the moment it popped up. Each time it was revealed on the screen they all burst into laughter! My souls is full. #woluganda2018 #u4uganda