Monika Lawrence's Portfolio
Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, community, photo exhibition

Back in Kalungu again. How the kids have grown! Back to exploring with cameras.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photo project, man, community organizer, community leader, community

Edward Ngui, community organizer, father of three girls and a boy, has a big goal: a good education for all his children.  As always in the last few years, he was very helpful with organizing the photo workshop, translating, and getting me for each meeting from Kibwezi to Kalungu on a boda boda. In between he had to negotiate the use of a water tower between two communities, among others ...

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photo project, school, teacher, baby, community

Josefine Mwangangi, though having no formal training, is a very dedicated teacher at the preschool in Kalungu. I am very thankful, that we were able to use the school for the workshop and the exhibition.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photo project,school,  children, teacher, baby, community

Josefine Mwangangi who supported the photo project from the beginning, teaches preschoolers with her four months old baby in her arm.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, cameras, photo project, community

This year's equipment: donated used point and shoot cameras.  Two kids had to share a camera, sometimes even three kids. Not always easy, but it worked.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, girls, food, community

After a workshop meeting some of the girls sit together peeling beans. One condition to get their parents’ permission to participate in the workshop was that they still get their usual chores done like preparing meals or fetching water or firewood, or taking care of goats and cows.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, community, photo exhibition

As soon as I learned that photos can now be printed in nearby Kibwezi, my goal was to to create a photo exhibition in the school. First ever in Kalungu. The kids were so excited to share their work and to own their prints!

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, community, photo exhibition

For the first time, we have the  opportunity to print photos in Kibwezi, meaning we can have an EXHIBITION! Here, Joshua (blue shirt) selects his photos. He shared a camera with his brother Caleb and now they discuss who took which of the pre-selected photos. The kids learned very quickly to use the computer for the editing process.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, women, community, photo exhibition

Sarah (front) and Josefine help Munyiva to select her best photos. While it was difficult for most kids to select only two out of 20-30 images, there were lots of funny moments too.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, community, photo exhibition

Tabitha signs one of her photos while Caleb prepares a welcome sign in his mother tongue Kikamba.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, community, community kitchen

Our last day in Kalungu, the day of the opening of the photo exhibit. Some women prepare chapati and tea in the school kitchen which was built with money from donations and from proceeds from a book showing the children’s photos from 2013. Windows and a door still need to be put in.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, women, community, photo exhibition

For the first time we were able to organize an exhibition in the preschool which also serves as a community center. Family members and neighbors of the children came over to look at the photos.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, community, photo exhibition

Edwards mother, the most photographed grandma in town, looks at the photos at the exhibition in the school.


Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photo project, field projects, men, community organizer, community, interviews

The photo workshop would not have been possible without Eddie Mwanzia (left, with my husband Mark), a local community organizer from Kibwezi. He was not only our host, but was essential for getting into contact with community members and incredibly resourceful regarding local history, environmental changes, social issues, or simply where to get the best food on the local market. THANK YOU.

Kenya, rural Kenya, Kalungu, photography, photo project, children, community, dirty feet

In 2019 I could not return to Kalungu from personal reasons, in 2020 the Coronavirus ended all travel plans. I hope so much that the camera kids and their families get safely through this pandemic. And I hope to meet them again in the coming years. 

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