Let me take you on a journey.

It’s 2007 in Rwanda.
April; The month of mourning for the atrocities of the genocide.

A wonderful theory.
A hopelessly inadequate practice.

Mourn for one month, the butchering of your family?
Oh well, at least the government is trying.

I’m here on an aid trip to DR Congo and Rwanda.
The trash cans of the world.
Where others rifle through the litter to find gems, literally.

Messy business pillaging.

Today we’re with the Barakaboa Foundation.
On their ‘books’ kids as young as 10 raising kids even younger.
There are no orphanages in Rwanda.

A wonderful theory.
A hopelessly inadequate practice.

If not the genocide perpetrating this horror the new monster steps in .

AIDS.

Barakaboa swivels from one barbaric destroyer to the next.

We visit a family.

Me, my sister, a full time aid worker and her husband a doctor.

We feel obtrusive.
We feel confronted.
We feel hopeless.
And we feel western.
We are all these things.

It is my task to take photos.

Our host is the woman in this shot.
I don’t even know her name.
It’s dark and I can barely focus.
There is no electricity.
Torn material hangs across glassless windows.

There is no breeze.
The air is stifling.
The atmosphere shameful.
The outlook hopeless.

She has AIDS.
Her husband passed it on before he died.

Her 16 year old daughter has AIDS.
Ahh rape…

Her fatherless child?
Who knows.

There are 6 people living here.

It’s tiny.
It’s tiny.
It’s tiny.

We ask how we can help.
Snap goes my shutter.

She needs medicine.
My brother-in-law writes a script.
We fumble around for Rwandan money.

A wonderful theory.
A hopelessly inadequate practice.

She can’t afford the taxi to the pharmacy. The authorities supply some medicine but not enough.

And the drug companies? Don’t start me.

Snap, another shot.

She has nothing on the walls except a crucifix.
She is a Christian.
A real one.
Not just for charity.
She asks us to hold her hand and pray for her family.

She loves her family.

I look at my sister.
I look at my brother-in-law.
They stand up and hold her hands a million miles from their own kids.
I love my family too.

We pray.
Then, snap, a family shot.

We leave.
Promising our lips are sealed.
She is ashamed.

So are we.

Not of who we are or why we’ve come or what we’ve done.

We are ashamed and angry and affronted at the horrible, despicable and unacceptable inequality of gender and geography.

My sister and I share a silent glance.

There but by the grace of God, that could have been us.

Let me take you on a journey.

Melinda Kerr

Melbourne, Australia

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

This exists next to a picture in my folio. But just in case any of you missed it…

Artwork Comments

  • Robert Knapman
  • The Tales of Sinful Little
  • drrzac
  • katphoto
  • dSart
  • Liesl Yvette Wilson
  • boppjen
  • Melinda Kerr
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