Let me tell you about Samuel.

I met Samuel at Mamman Jeanne’s orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa.

Mamman Jeanne’s orphange is sponsored by CNEC Partners International and supported by Heal Africa.

Samuel danced for us on arrival. He was awesome.

I then had the privilege of interviewing him.

In short, here’s his story:

When Samuel was 2 and still being breast fed, his mother was set upon randomly by the militia. They do that, for fun.

She was attacked with machetes and kiiled where she stood. Samuel was cut by the blow. You can see the scar on the left hand side of his face. He also has some scars on his scalp.

Oh and he lost his left hand.

Thinking they were all dead and their days work done, the militia left.

Samuel was discovered, barely but still alive.

He was taken from his mother’s corpse and somehow delivered to Mamman Jeanne. A remarkable woman who nursed him herself (as she was already breast feeding her own child). Samuel is now 16 and still at Mamman Jeanne’s orphanage.

Which resides in a war torn country not ‘important’ enough to save.

People like Samuel are everywhere in Congo.

Everywhere.

People like Mamman Jeanne?

Not quite so many.

Samuel likes playing soccer and dancing.

Prior to us arriving a chid had been stolen from the orphanage by the militia to be a child soldier.

How long do you reckon Samuel has?

When people ask you to donate to these causes, they’re asking you because it’s the only way they will survive.

It’s as simple and as gruesome as that.

Not unlike the crime in the first place.

G’day all, my name is Melinda but my mates call me Mel, so feel free. I live by the beach in Elwood, Victoria, Australia. I contribute to a few charities as a Photojournalist, namely HEAL Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Any of my Africa stuff’s profits go to them. So far the sales have bought 7 operations and heaps more so thanks for everyone’s support. I also take a mean beach shot (well try to).

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Comments

  • jetsta42
    jetsta42about 7 years ago

    great capture Mel and a gripping story…it’s so saddening, this world sometimes

  • David Stuart
    David Stuartabout 7 years ago

    Wonderfully powerful work as usual Melinda and what a story !!

  • Steve Axford
    Steve Axfordabout 7 years ago

    I like this a lot.

  • Paul Louis Villani
    Paul Louis Vil...about 7 years ago

    Thank you Melinda for sharing with us and for perhaps opening the eyes of those who sometimes chose not to see.
    I can imagine the work you do to be heartwrenching at times. This powerful piece and its description is a testament to you as a person and artist.

  • Melinda Kerr
    Melinda Kerrabout 7 years ago

    Thanks guys. My bit is easy. The thing that wrenches my heart the most is how useless I feel and how I wish I had more time and money to help.

  • Charlotte Morison
    Charlotte Morisonabout 7 years ago

    What an amazing story Mel, what a job you have, I would be so upset by such a thing that I’m not sure I would be able to interview him.

    There you are making a huge difference in the world, with your photography and art as well as your work!

  • Melinda Kerr
    Melinda Kerrabout 7 years ago

    It’s a voluntary job Charlotte-sadly not my full time work. I hope one day to raise enough money to make a documentary-that’d be another work of love but I think one which could really do something.

  • Nicole Goggins
    Nicole Gogginsabout 7 years ago

    Melinda as usual your work is amazing, great photo and v. moving story! I read it out loud to my daughter who was complaining about what food she had to choose from in our cupboard (now sitting quietly eating an apple – for the time being)… You might not feel like you are doing much but you are doing heaps to help get the word out there, most of us are v. sheltered from such tragedy – living in our own little world… keep up the great work – you really are making a huge difference…

  • Andy73
    Andy73about 7 years ago

    Beautiful and moving. This is what photography is all about. Thank you for sharing!

  • Melinda Kerr
    Melinda Kerrabout 7 years ago

    Thanks guys. Much appreciated x

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