The social media diva put a shout out, and I’m following. Of course! Who could resist? ,-) No seriously, the ideas is to write about dreams.
“The stuff that inspired us, changed us, and fuelled our love for life and/or God. The things that had us move job, continents and through relationships. It’s based on the belief that when we share our dreams, we are dared to chase them. They remind us that everything is possible. In doing so, we hope to remind all of our readers and each other how important sharing our deepest hopes and desires is… for support, for honesty and for accountability.”
So here I am. I guess I’m here (in Melbourne/Australia, working for an NGO, doing photography, online marketing, communications), because many moons ago, when I lived in Nairobi, in the 90′s, my heart was stirred by the things that went down in East Africa.
It was years of uncertainty in Nairobi (my dad got car-jacked, I got knifed, neighbours got shot and cars burned), while Kenya was transitioning from single to “multiparty democracy”, Kevin Carter won a Pulitzer with his epic image of a starving child in Sudan, Mohammed Amin, covered the Ethiopian Civil War, Mogadishu was going crazy, and there was just so much injustice poverty, corruption, violence as part of the every day. Lifeline Sudan was happening.
It stirred in me the longing, the hope for a better world, a just place, and I knew
I wanted to play a role in it.
I had just about finished high school and had the opportunity to get to Southern Sudan. It was a bit of an undercover operation (my code name was Charlie Zoo, and we had Sat Phone). We flew in from Lokichiko, Northern Kenya with an old Convair turboprop plane (the queen’s mum used to own it, I think) delivering 20 tons of food, grain, medication, clothes, maize, sugar, oil, soap etc. to a small town a few flight hours across the border. There were only old people, some women and small kids. Everyone else was gone or killed in the 32 years of war. From the air, most of the land below was burned and bomb craters were everywhere. It was absolutely surreal.
There is this one image burned into my mind of a small kid, half naked and malnourished, coming to the airstrip and picking up every little tiny piece of maize that had fallen out of the bags and landed on the ground. I can not forget this vision – it truly made me a different person. It’s the picture I call back to mind when I get stressed about my iphone not working, and when this consumerism stuff gets too important.
I remember distinctly how as I sat in this plane, hydraulic fluid dripping from the cargo door actuator, that I had this “burning bush” experience. There was the inner voice saying “This is for you”. And I knew it was.
I followed this voice. It took me to my creative side – I became a designer & multimedia producer and photographer. Started my own business. I drew me towards aviation & piloting – I wanted to be a pilot to do disaster emergency relief work.
I lived in Germany for 10 years and was now in Australia – and here, having JUST received my wings, it also all crashed. The dream of flying, working in Africa ended abruptly. Heaps of frustration and questions followed.
And yet, it was just the beginning of where I am now and what I do, and I realize in hindsight that it’s all gone full circle. I now work for NGOs in Asia and Africa, I’m using my skills and talents in design, communication and photography. And as I am building the area of shooting humanitarian documentary, I realize, what motivated me wasn’t aviation, it wasn’t design and creative direction, and it is in many ways not even photography per se. (Though I love it!)
What really inspires and drives me to do what I do, to get better at what I do is knowing that I am making a difference. That my work, my photography is actually helping relieve poverty, restoring hope. Fighting for freedom and justice – and ultimately making this world a better place.
So what’s the dream now? I revolves around all of this. Getting into more NGOs. Doing more humanitarian photography. Covering emergencies. Doing online/social media marketing. Being a creative consultant to organizations that work to make a difference, too.