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Hi! My name is Naomi. Tomorrow I will be on a flight to Kenya with my grandmother. A few days after that I will be visiting the Voiceless Children village. I was introduced to Felix through my grandmother, who contacted him after viewing his film. After that, I was drawn into the project, and since I was already going to Kenya, I decided to pay a visit to the grandmothers and grandchildren of Voiceless Children during my stay in Africa.

I cannot help but draw the purely coincidental, yet ironic parallels between my visit and the people I will visit. I am going to Kenya with my grandmother, to visit grandmothers who live with their grandchildren. But our situations could not be more contrary. On the surface, there would appear to be no other similarities between their situations and mine, besides the fact that we have the same family relationship. We are from the United States, and they live in Africa: 8000 miles away, across two bodies of water, two continents, and on different sides of the equator. Not only that, but there is our language difference, our skin color, and drastically different circumstances.

These children are orphans, whose parents have died of AIDS. These grandmothers have stepped in and raised their grandchildren. I have always had a different relationship with my grandmother because she didn’t have to step in and be a parent figure. My grandparents have always served as the adults in my life who have spoiled me or let me get away with things I would normally never be able to. 

But despite how it seems, I think that we will have more in common than it seems, because after all, we are all people, and underneath we are all the same. I am not sure what I will find in common with these grandchildren. Similar music tastes? Movies? Political views?

These grandchildren and grandmothers did not choose their situation, or do anything to deserve it. I didn’t chose my situation either, or do anything to deserve it more than they did. It could easily be me living in that situation. I think behind all the differences, we are all humans, striving for the same things in life. The same emotions, desires, and wishes.

It is inspiring how these grandmothers have risked everything to support their grandchildren, to give them a second chance because they wouldn’t be anywhere without them. It truly is remarkable and I feel honored to be able to talk to these people and photograph them. I cannot wait to hear their stories and tell them stories of my own. I am really looking forward to working with the organization and doing all that I can.

Naomi


 

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