Saturday, 6 March 2010

from Congo with love

Everyday living can make you forget how lucky you are to be able to do what you do and how blessed you are to have the freedom to choose where to work, live and even the freedom to choose whatever faith you practice.

Last night I went to the National Theatre at the Southbank to see the photography exhibition of Rankin. Far removed from his famous clients, (he’s worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss and even the Queen of England) he paid a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo with Oxfam, where he gave basic photography workshops to men and women who are victims of a war that started ten years ago! Displaced women, children and men were given the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words and pictures.

Their stories show love and solidarity in the midst of what has been described as the world’s deadliest conflict since World War Two. You probably won’t hear or see this on the front pages of your papers but thanks to Rankin and Oxfam I was able to read these stories and see these pictures myself.

You cannot help but be moved by Alfredo’s story, a forty year old man that conflict and war has taken everything away from, but his love for music. He has had to flee his village three times carrying his seventeen year old guitar with him everywhere he went; that’s how much he loves music.

Farbrize’s love for his wife of seven years is still as strong as when they first met in spite of the war and destruction they have had to endure.

And 78 year old chef Charles now lives in a camp with his six children far removed from the ‘important people’ he once cooked for.

There’s a thread that runs through all the stories I read, these are people who just want what’s best for their families and for themselves.

Their basic hierarchy of needs in no way different from you and I.

From Congo with love is at the National Theatre till the 11th of April 2010 you can also give towards the work that Oxfam is doing in DRC by visiting

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