01 March 2010

i've changed.
i'm sorry.


19 February 2010

im exhausted. the images remain in the camera.

its one of those moments where i need to process the world, before i process those images.

im afraid. im fairly sure that i failed as a journalist on this occasion: i didn’t ask the questions, didn’t get the difficult images. but sometimes you just have to be human.

there is chance’. she is seven years old—tall, with a tiny scar under her left eye. i have no idea what kinds of horror shes seen. a child of the war in the congo. an orphan. raped, abandoned.

fourteen children are sitting in the small sitting room, watching a film. she’s sitting in the corner, head in her hands. she wont answer questions. she wont look up.

but she doesn’t fight when i pick her up, put her in my lap. she curls up against me, and reaches for my hand. and she holds it tightly.

i know that ill never understand these stories. never be able to show the beauty of these children in photographs. ill never do truth justice.
but isn'nt it more to love? i want to learn to love.

30 December 2009

sanyati, zimbabwe

sanyati baptist hospital continues to serve hundreds of patients each day, even with chronic shortages of water, electricity and essential medicine. with the economic crisis in zimbabwe, the bush hospital lacks even basic supplies like mattresses and ceilings.

the week i was there, a shipment of medicines from baptist global response arrived. these medicines have allowed the hospital to continue treating patients, even when the rest of the country has shut down.

baptist global response hopes to complete a renovation of the facility in the near future.

a woman with a broke hip lies near her open bible in the inpatient ward of the hospital.

the hospital chaplain prays with a patient.

the children's ward quickly became my favorite place at sanyati. here are three of my closest friends there: benhilda, basil, and the baby.

a mother comforts her young son who is unable to move from his bed.

a man gets his vitals checked before he sees the doctor. one doctor provides care for hundreds of clinic patients each day, as well inpatient care.

(i dont have my notebook. i'll (maybe) update the captions with names later.)

06 November 2009

(a beautiful poem, from a true and beautiful friend)

instructions upon entering darkness

You must hibernate:
Gather food,
Hold your rosary,
Hope (try to).

Always surround yourself with books,
not to read (necessarily)
But to remind yourself that some things
do last
and new stories are retold.
Transformation with time.

Don't talk too much,
Lips need slumber too.
Learn to listen,
Ears need constant vigilance.
Only then will you know inherent value.

Drink wine with friends who don't
rush your pain.
Believe that humility rarely shows
up without humiliation.

Turn your face to the sky:
The earth will continue to rotate around an axis
toward the sun's rays.
Winter is coming,
Spring will come after.
The deep sleep will be aroused...
It will.

A frozen river still rushes water deep within.

And when the ice does thaw,
don't forget.
The sea was parted, the walls were tumbled,
the way was prepared.
Remember--for this will come again--
Just as the leaves fall, fertilize and recloak
the oaks of righteousness.

rebecca mcneil smith

14 October 2009

a poem i love. which, i think, could also be appropriately titled, how to be alive.

How To Be a Poet

by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
more photos of the street boys in nairobi.

02 October 2009

You who are God’s servants are living in a foreign country, for your own city-state is far away from this city-state. Knowing which is yours, why do you acquire fields, costly furnishings, buildings, and frail dwellings here? Anyone who acquired things for himself in this city cannot expect to find the way home to his own City. Do you not realize that all these things here do not belong to you, that they are under a power alien to your nature? The ruler will say you do not obey my laws, either observe my laws or get out of my country, Take care lest it prove fatal to you to repudiate your own laws. Acquire no more here than what is absolutely necessary. Instead of fields, buy for yourselves people in distress in accordance with your means.

-Hermas, 140 AD