The Quick Version:
What: A Mission trip to Zimbabwe to photograph and video the plight of orphans living in dire straights, and create media for Fingerprints Across Africa to use in education and fundraising.
When: End of February/Beginning of March
Why: To bring hope to those who have none.
The Full Story:
Hello everyone. My name Is Matthew Ichiyasu, and I appreciate you taking 5 minutes of your busy day to pay attention to little ol’ me. I am a videographer and photographer married to a beautiful and long suffering saint of a woman, and that together, we are walking the path that life and the Good Lord have laid out for us.
(My Wife and I)
An opportunity has come up along our path… Well, more of a mission actually. In the coming months, I am going to be partnering with an organization called Fingerprints Across Africa. They are a humanitarian organization focused on touching lives and building futures, and they need my help.
Now, it's been a tough, tough year for most of us. The loss of friends, family, houses, jobs, peace of mind… all tragedies that have taken their collective tolls. But most of us also know that there are places in the world where the people are in far worse straits than many of us can imagine. Zimbabwe is one of these places…
Located near the southern tip of Africa, Zimbabwe is a beautiful land with a rich and diverse culture… it is popular with tourists, and its capital city is, to all appearances, a thriving modern metropolis. But these Wikipedia bullet points do not show the full story. They do not show the poverty... the sickness… the ones who have no hope.
Those with the least hope are the children. There are over a million orphans… some as young a preschoolers. They sleep in shacks made from cardboard and sheet metal, on shop doorsteps, or even in the street itself. Their only means of survival? Begging… scavenging through dumpsters… stealing. Girls are routinely taken and trafficked out of the country, becoming literal sex slaves… Or, nominally better, if they survive to 9 years old, they can be forced into child marriages to men many times their age. Sexually transmitted diseases, something that no child should ever have to face, are rampant, leading many to substance abuse in a vain effort to numb the pain coursing through their tiny bodies.
Fingerprints Across Africa has set out to do something about it. Through the construction of safe, clean housing, children are given a place of refuge, healthy food, and warmth and comfort throughout the long nights. The schools they build provide a basic education, along with vital vocational training, paving the way for these young ones to have a chance at a future. Medical aid combats the pain that some of these children live with every single day, and works to change the system that caused the diseases in the first place. This group is making a difference…
But an organization like this requires resources… The people of our great nation are, I believe, generally kind and caring and want to help those less fortunate than themselves… but many well meaning people have no idea of what’s really going on… That's where I come in.
I will be traveling to Zimbabwe in an attempt to capture on film the true plight of these orphans. To bring the realities of their life and struggles to the forefront of the mind of our distracted, social media saturated nation… to highlight the good work of Fingerprints Across Africa and, God willing, help then acquire the resources they need to build homes, training centers, and medical facilities for some of the least fortunate of our fellow human beings.
And this is where you come in. Trips like this are expensive. Not just travel and food that most people think of, but vaccinations, passports, visas, antibiotics… Being that my mission is one of a videographical and photographic nature, there are also power adapters, protective cases, memory cards and other such needful things. Plus, mere days after agreeing to this trip, I suffered a series of equipment failures, rendering my primary camera useless.
Those of you who know me know I don't ask for help. Those of you who know me well know that they have to fight to make me accept the help I don't ask for. I admire the hard working self-made man… and I have always strived to be one. But in this one case… I am asking for your help.
Many of us come from different faiths, creeds, and backgrounds… this is a mission that transcends those differences. Many of you do not share my faith… some of you do… Regardless, I believe this is a mission given to me by my creator... To go forth into all nations… to heal the sick… to feed the hungry… to protect the widows and orphans… to bring hope to those who have none. Please… help me help them.
If you would like to take a look at the organization I will be working with, info can be found here: https://www.fpaaf.org/
I plan to put up a special photo gallery for those who help me, and I plan to document my journey and experiences throughout this project and share them with all of you. Thank you for your time and your attention. And to those of you who are willing to give something, thank you from the bottom of my heart… and I pray that you will be truly blessed for your kindness.
- Yeng Lo
- LaDona Souther
- Michael & Deborah McDaniel
- Sara Pittman
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