If Batman ever visited Mwanza, Tanzania I'm sure he would say the same thing he said about Gotham, "This city is full of people ready to believe in good." My first trip to Africa not only validated the great need there, but also opened my eyes to the fact that hope still exists and, often times, in great quantity.
There were countless moments that both delighted my heart and tore it to pieces, confirming that while the present is bleak, people believe in --and long for-- a brighter future. Moments such as visiting with the street boys whose small amount of English included, "Teacher, I want to go to school, but don't have the money." Or times when a trip off the paved path led to large gatherings of giggling locals as word had quickly spread that wazungus (white folk) were in town. Their tattered clothes only slightly shielding their captivating smiles. And Glory. The sweet, little one whose family faced uncertain times as cancer seemed to be winning the battle against her 4-yr old body.
These moments have lingered in my head for the past two years and have shaped my goals for my return trip. Through photographs, I want to tell the stories of both the sufferers and survivors. The helpless and the helpers. The rescuers and those needing rescue.
Photographs tell stories in ways that words cannot. While they may not fill a hungry stomach, bring back a loved one, or cure a disease, photographs can in fact be a small part of changing the world. Some stories are better told in first person, which is why also want to put cameras into the hand of the people I meet -- because they are the true narrators.
As the trip draws near, details are being finalized. Both my photographs and theirs will be culled, edited, and presented as one project. While my trip will begin in Mwanza, I've been in communication with non-profits throughout Tanzania and look forward to seeing more of this beautiful country. A five-week trip awaits me and I could sure use your help to pull it off! I will be in Tanzania from January 16 through February 22.
I appreciate any and every way in which you choose to participate. Feel free to contact me with any questions or for more details.
To view some of my photography, visit www.AshMillPhotography.com