Diaspora of Hope Art Camp

22 12 2010

A reflection on art camp from our director, Moses:

The Camp in Mombasa was one of my most memorable moments with Mathare kids. It’s memorable because I had earlier during the year promised to take them to Mombasa but I didn’t know how. It was also memorable because it was the first time I spent around eight hours in a bus and five nights with the kids. I can’t really say the feeling that Inspiration Centre kids had. I can simply say that they had great time.

The camp was amazing. Our first night was for us to find where to sleep, shower and eat. I was teaching photography and was being assisted by Andrew and Godfrey. We had nine disposable and one digital camera. We also had received a donation of video camera from one of the volunteers  which we were able to use to record what was going on at the camp.

We were all looking forward to going to the beach every afternoon. We had set our afternoon free so that we could all go for beach except one day which we decided to go to Fort Jesus and the Likoni Ferry.

I have a feeling that we have set high standards for next year. Some kids were saying that they want to go to Tanzania next year. I just laughed it off but I guess with God all things are possible (just like I didn’t know how to take them to Mombasa, Tanzania may be a replica).

Being the director of Inspiration Centre and doubling it up as the director for the camp, was tiresome and demanding. I was forced to make executive and tough decisions at some point. All in all , everything went well, just a few teething problems here and there but nothing that I couldn’t handle. I guess next year God willing, we will do even better.

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11 12 2010

Kevin doesn’t speak. His days are spent in corners; in silent observance of the loud lives lived by others. Sometimes he smiles. Often times, a blank stare graces his face. When I look at him, I wonder. What would he say if he could?

Kevin and Celmali

Despite his disability, Kevin was a part of the 2010 Art Camp in Mombasa. There he was, camera in hand; a part of the group, finally included. His smile grew even wider ashe learned to swim with his photography teacher. If this week was about unity, Kevin’s story tells it best: We Belong, We Have a Say, We Help Each Other, We Commit to Stay. Maybe he wasn’t able to recite these four steps of unity, and perhaps he couldn’t sing along to the theme song; but Kevin is a prime example of how the process of art makingunifies where there is division, and heals where there is hurt. I sort through photographs taken by Kevin. In a world of bound silence, art is his voice.

Kevin's smile

I hear a loud shriek. It is Kevin’s sister, running to greet him with a hero’s welcome. Herarms cling around him and his smile grows the widest I’ve ever seen. This past weekhas been a memorable one. I think about how I’ve carelessly spent countless words describing it to others. And then I think about Kevin, and that silent smile of his that reveals it all. What would he say if he could?
-Celmali Jaime

Meet Kaylie

1 12 2010

Hey Everyone!

Moses, the kids, and about 20 volunteers are in Mombassa this week for the Diaspora of Hope art camp. News from the front lines is that the kids are absolutely loving the ocean (and who wouldn’t?)

I thought now would be a good time to introduce our newest volunteer: Kaylie Sauter. Well, actually, she’s not that new — she has been in Nairobi since September working with us. I just haven’t gotten around to doing this post until now (woops!). Kaylie was instrumental in organizing art camp for this week. So without further ado, he she is in her own words:

Kaylie in Mombassa


“Hi, my name is Kaylie and I am an Artist on Call with BuildaBridge, which is an organization in Philadelphia that engages the transformative power of the arts to bring hope and healing to children, families, and communities in the tough places of the world. One of my roles, using art, here in Nairobi, is to teach an art class to the kids at the Inspiration Center on Saturday mornings. I have chosen to emphasize skills in painting for 3 months and then switch to explore another form of visual art for another 3 months. The children range from ages 5-11 and are divided into age groups, and so 5-8 yrs come for an art class at 9 am and then the older children (9 and above) come for a class at 11. During these weeks of painting we have been talking about what is beautiful…which, so far has led us in a variety of discussions including what is beautiful about being unique, how can we make a mistake beautiful, and searching for what is beautiful in the Mathare Settlements. So far the kids are learning about their primary and secondary colors, how to paint abstractly, and how to paint a monochromatic painting. It is my hope to build on top of the skills they are learning so that they will have a well-rounded grasp of various painting styles, techniques, and terms.”

Kaylie is keeping her own blog of her time in Nairobi. To read about her experience in Kenya, check it out at http://kbritten.wordpress.com/

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