Positive Exposure in KenyaMarch 10, 2010
Hey All: Blogging from Doha, Qatar. Arrived on Monday night after spending 2 great but crazy weeks shooting in Kenya.
The trip began as a mission of empowerment to fortify our friends living with albinism bordering Tanzania. Fear that the witchdoctors under scrutiny by the international press and government pressure will send their henchmen across the borders to areas where the local press isn’t interested in a potential threat against humanity and people with albinism, although always discriminated against in Kenya might let their guard down and walk freely in public without fear of being murdered for their body parts. It’s a nightmare. Positive Exposure has partnered with several international and local organizations in Kenya to create public awareness programs, educational workshops and community outreach initiatives to empower people with albinism in Kenya, their families and friends. Our mission is to change public perceptions of difference and prevent the genocide caused by fear and ignorance from spreading to neighboring Tanzanian countries like Kenya, Uganda and Burundi. Our goal is to create a portable and sustainable prototype that will be launched in Kenya then travel throughout Africa protecting our brothers and sisters living with physical or behavioral differences.
I traveled to several regions with a most remarkable film crew from Kartemquin Films, shooting the PE documentary. Director Producer, Joanna Rudnick, Camerawoman Dana Kupper and Sound engineer, John Mathie, together in partnership with ICEVI’s Bernard Mogesa and the beautiful and inspiring Jayne Waithera, we covered lots of territory, from Nairobi to Embu, Nyeri and Meru. (as a side note, I met Jayne in Kerala, India in 2009 when I visited the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurship following a trip with the Under the Same Sun Team to Tanzania.. Jayne was a participant at the Institute)
Our list of activities included a Television interview, a rally at Jimhuri Park for people with disabilities, visits to St Lucy’s School for the Blind, in Meru, Kilimani Primary School, Kibera School for Girls, an outdoor and very public exhibition at the Kenya National Theater, a visit to Jayne Grand and Great grand mothers in Nyeri as well as a visit to a garden community initiative designed for and by people living with albinism in Embu. We met with ASK members as well as the Founder of AFEA, the lovely powerhouse Mumbi, visited clinics and attended a workshops for families caring for a child with this condition. A groundbreaking activity was the formation of Positive Exposure Kenya with Jayne at the helm. Plans to travel into the rural areas where ignorance is rampant are in development. PE Kenya has also recruited a youth board to create innovative programs to change public The youth board will be driving the programs, lectures, exhibitions and presentations and there is some stirring about creating a dedicated FM radio station for people living with difference So EXCITING… I topped off the trip with a 2 day safari in the Masai Mara. UNBELIEVALBE. I saw lions and giraffes and cheetahs and elephants… It was incredible and invigourating. Im now ready for the next leg of this 1 month journey.
Im currently here in Qatar to collaborate with medical students at Weill Medical School –Qatar, to develop self esteem and self advocacy programs for people living with physical or behavioral differences in the middle east. Nature genetics will be joining us on a trip to Oman to work with the genetics community there as well to spread the message: CELEBRATE YOUR DIFFERENCE I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out some production pics from Kenya..