Saturday, March 04, 2006

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by
camera_rwanda.

One orphan looks beyond the puddles, the playground, the brick wall, beyond even Kigali, toward a horizon dim through the haze.


Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
June, 2005.

The text below is from www.orphansofrwanda.org

"Centre Memorial de Gisimba (Gisimba Memorial Center)

The Gisimba orphanage, located in the Nyamirambo quarter of Kigali, is led by Damas Mutezintare Gisimba. Damas's father founded the orphanage in 1980 with 18 children living in one house. Damas took over in 1986 after the death of his father. During the genocide Damas sheltered over 400 children and adults in the small orphanage compound from the predations of the interahamwe [the Hutu paramilitary squads that carried out much of the genocide]. Though the orphanage was repeatedly menaced, Damas and his colleagues held their ground and did not give in to the genocidaires. He has been honored for his heroism by the Rwandan government and many other organizations.

The orphanage currently houses over 150 children. Ten years ago almost all were genocide victims, but many of the newer arrivals have been orphaned by AIDS. Because their parents were HIV+, a number of them are also infected."

PLEASE DONATE TO GISIMBA MEMORIAL CENTER VIA ORPHANS OF RWANDA: www.orphansofrwanda.org/getinvolved.php#donate


For statistics on Rwanda: www.unicef.org/infobycountry/rwanda_statistics.html


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

He emulates one of so many soldiers he's seen.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
June, 2005.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

So happy she could fly.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
July, 2005.

(TMAX film.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sisters


Sisters
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.



This is such an important moment, the two orphan sisters'
bonding--their inextricable spirits nourishing their hearts and their lives.
Wow, to be a sister in blood or closeness is unbeatable.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
A fantastic day, full of fun.
June, 2005.



The following is credited to the African Children's Choir which has helped sponsor Gisimba orphans since 1994.



Rwanda
The Choir Travels to Rwanda for Hope and Healing

The African Children's Choir first started helping Rwandan children in the mid 1990's after the horrific 1994 genocide that left nearly a million people dead and hundreds of thousands of orphans to fend for themselves.

Choir founder Ray Barnett traveled to the devastated country with a psychiatric team in late 1994 to assess the situation. Upon learning that many of the children were suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the organization immediately set to work producing training guides and materials on the stress-related disorder and sent teams to Rwanda to train childcare workers across the country on how to effectively address the problem. While in Rwanda, the team forged a special relationship with the Gisimba Memorial Centre, an orphanage located in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.

The orphanage was overwhelmed by the numbers of children lining up for help and was struggling to provide one meal a day. Music for Life, the parent organization behind the choir stepped in to help, providing food and clothing as well as assistance with trauma counseling and education.

Since the mid 90's, several of the children from the orphanage have toured with the choir, and the organization continues to work in partnership with the orphanage to ensure that the children there are well cared for and receive the education they need to succeed in life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Solitude


Solitude
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Rare at the orphanage.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
June, 2005.

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Gisimba, Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
June, 2005.

(TMAX film.)

Ntawiha Mois, Age 12
I live at the orphanage Center and I wish you peace from God. I love playing soccer. I love studying and I love my friends so much. I also greet you wishing you New Year.
My friends' name is Asongwa and Phillip, Faysal, and Uwayezu.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Smile


Smile
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
June, 2005.

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Child leaning against a ladder in the orphanage's playground--taking time out from playing.

Gisimba Memorial Center .
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
July, 2005.
(TMAX film.)

Joseph Gets The Ball!


Joseph gets the ball!
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

In the playground at Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
June, 2005.

Niyonzima Jean Claude, Age 16

I study in senior one. I love playing soccer so much. And I love one of the futball players from England named David Beckam and one of the players from Rwanda called Jimmy Gatele and Olivier Karakezi. They all play in Rwanda. I love Manchester United from England and also APRFC from Rwanda. I also wish to be a soccer player. A soccer player is like being famous. I want to play for my country team, Team named Anauubi. I love wearing number 11. I love God. I love children. I love eating french fries and I love being with my friends when we are laughing, happy, and conversing together. And I like sharing with my freinds. That's all.

Vannesa


Vannesa
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
June, 2005.

To Be A Child


To Be A Child
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
Some days are harder than others.
June, 2005.

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
June, 2005.

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

An orphan writes her mini-biography in Kinyarwanda as part of the Gisimba Photography Project.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
June, 2005.

(TMAX film.)

Outside Looking In


Outside Looking In
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

I actually took a few photographs of the Gisimba children at this and other windows of the classroom in which my translator/friend Denise and I took turns teaching the other orphans photography. Every Saturday, this happened: as we taught a small group of 20 or so eager children inside, others hung onto the louvres outside, looking in at us, their hearts hopeful that the next Saturday, they'd be inside the classroom.

This image, then, is a metaphor to me. How while some receive, others look on, hoping, waiting for their turn. Will it ever come?

Most importantly, what is our role in all of this?



Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
A brightly lit Saturday morning.
June, 2005.

Blanket


Blanket
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
June, 2005.

D A N C I N G


D A N C I N G
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Beautiful sunny day.
June, 2005.

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
July, 2005.

(TMAX film.)

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Intimacy and humanity here at the orphanage--knee to knee.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
June, 2005.

(TMAX film.)

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

The girl's hand on her older sister's knee is yet another subtle sign of love here at the orphanage.

Gisimba Memorial Center .
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
July, 2005.

(TMAX film.)

Gisimba Memorial Center


Gisimba Memorial Center
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Community


Community
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Hand-holding: a sweet sign of togetherness.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
June, 2005.

Sipesiyoza


Sipesiyoza
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Preparing for finals.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
June, 2005.

Falling In Love


Falling In Love
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Can happen at any age.

Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
A spellbinding day.
June, 2005.

Cadete


Cadete
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Books are expensive in Rwanda, and they are rare at the orphanage. I started a little library there this summer. I hope to add to it as the years pass. K-12 books (grade school primers especially) in French and English are desperately needed. Please contact me if you'd like to support Gisimba's little library.

Mother's Love


Mother's Love
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

Here at the orphanage, a gesture of love--subtle, silent, and inspiring.

Here at the orphanage, where technically there are no mothers, the children nurture and adore each other. Such mothering is awe-inspiring and makes us realize that all love, when it is pure, is like mother's love.

H A P P I N E S S


H A P P I N E S S
Originally uploaded by camera_rwanda.

is the heart split wide open, in a good way.

I think that if you can look at these kids and relate to them, to their state of being, you know you're in a good place...It's no great mystery, then, that we find ourselves happy when in the presence of children...Happiness isn't conditional or situational, it's a spiritual force already and all ready within us...Children haven't forgotten this, but sadly, many adults have...let's remind each other, shall we?

These are the beautiful children of Gisimba Memorial Center.
Kigali, Rwanda.
June, 2005.