This idea was given to me by a fellow traveler, and it makes people I meet very happy!
If I have the time and the opportunity I develop photos I have taken and give them as a gift to the people I have met. Most of them don’t have smartphones and I have no other way to leave them the photos.
It is also an opportunity for some of them to dress nicely, usually on their own initiative, like old man Ansalimu in the center of the picture above. When I asked his permission to photograph him, he asked me to wait and went into his house to change into a suit.
For me it’s a way to give something back. I’m happy to share it with you too.
The pictures above are from my first time to say goodbye to the sweet people of Shimbwe village on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, before I knew I would return to them again and again.
I wandered around the houses in the afternoon to give the pictures and did not expect the powerful experience that awaited me.
The African way
Here is what I wrote then:
Yesterday afternoon we made our rounds to give away the photos I’ve printed.
We got to the first house, and then I remembered, again, that in Africa things work differently. You don’t make “a quick round”. You take the time to respectfully, to greet, to chat. You sit down.
So we took our time, stopped a lot on the way to greet everyone we met. And in every home, the magnitude of the joy and gratitude overwhelmed me. The excitement and happiness over the photos. The blessings and thanks given to Victor, the guide that brought me to their homes, and their will to give back.
In one house I received two mangoes as a gift, in another house two eggs, and from one grandmother an invitation to a meal the next day. How blessed am I to have met the gentle and kind-hearted people of Shimbwe village.
On the way back the tears started to flow. For the greatness of simple love, gratitude, and most of all, the space that allows it all. A space of living together where humanity is important and is the basis for everything else.