In January 2014, I packed up my bags and flew to Gulu, Uganda to intern with Krochet Kids.
I lived there for 3 months
It changed my life.
My eyes were opened to a new reality and I've never been able to look at the world the same. While I was living in Gulu...I didn't post much on social media or my blog. I did occasionally, but there were so many scenes, faces, moments that I couldn't justify posting publicly about. Life in Gulu was so real, so raw, so unexpected and mesmerizing that posting idealized photos of my time there felt so...wrong.
I think that's the interesting thing about photography...because anyone can have a good camera. Anyone can travel to unique destinations and push a button to snap a shot. But what makes it photography, what makes someone a photographer, is the depth behind it all. The story that lies within. The process, the vision, the post-processing, the sharing, and ultimately... the humanity in it all. The red dirt roads of Northern Uganda taught me that...and 4 years later these sharp memories are still teaching me that.
Every so often, here in Japan, the neighbors near our school burn their trash. The smell wafts down the street and up to swirl around our school buildings and the moment that smell hits my nose...i'm taken back to Gulu. Back to the compound we worked at. Back to those red dirt roads. Those shoe-less kids. The taste of white rice and black beans. The feel of the hot African sun on my cheeks. The wind through my hair as I rode a boda (motorcycle taxi). The chaos of the market in town. The sweetness of the tea we drank at lunch. The laughter of the women and children there. Oh...Gulu...what a beautiful, simple, timeless place.
Here are a few simple snaps from my time there...
This last photo was taken on the day I left Gulu. My heart aches knowing it was 4 years ago that I saw all these beautiful faces of the women I worked with...but my heart also swells with hope knowing I'll one day see them again.