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Images of Oil: 2006

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    The presence of oil in the Niger Delta is ominous. It's everywhere. Nigeria is the 5th largest exporter of oil. Lacking in democracy, the combination of the riches from oil and prevelance of corruption is a formula for poverty and violence. The gap between the wealth and poverty is unbelievable. Gas flares are always a part of the landscape. They light up the night sky similar to a sunset. Oil and gas containers are everywhere. People use them for hauling things, even water. Chevron and Shell emblems are common sights. People sell oil/gas from their homes and on the streets (in the cities). Villagers eat meals right next to gasoline. Some villagers "host" oil companies on their land, and live right next to the operations, sometimes right next to drilling.

The Power of Women: 2006

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    Everywhere I'd look, there were women. Women working. Women nurturing. Women caretaking. It is evident that women are the heart and soul of the community and families in so many ways. Images of fishing, chopping wood, running small businesses...all the while tending to the children....were at my every turn. Their strength and resilence inspiring, I was in awe of the amazing display of love and commitment these women embodied.

Top 55 Kid Pics: 2006

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    I Do not Want to step so quickly Over a beautiful line on God's palm As I move through the earth's Marketplace Today. I do not want to touch any object in this world Without my eyes testifying to the truth That everything is My Beloved. Something has happened To my understanding of existence That calls my heart to be filled with wonder And kindness. I do not want to step so quickly Over this sacred place on God's body That is right beneath your own foot As I Dance with Precious life Today. -- Hafiz (Sufi poet)

Children in their Glory: 2006

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    Time with children is what initially brought my passion for photography to life. Timelessness, a zen with life, would fill my each moment with them. I mean, LOOK at these beauties! These dynamic and engaging beings simply touched my heart again and again. So real, inquisitive, genuine, playful, in the moment, divine. And, their shining spirits consistently sparked hope in me for the future. This is a selection of my favorites; I narrowed them to 186 (I have over 600 just of kids)!

One can CAN make a difference: 2006

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    Over 15,000 children, women and men fed in hours on one day. Every Sunday for 5 years. Their purpose is to "eradicate hunger". On Sunday, July 29, I was blessed with the opportunity to be one of a crowd of volunteers who contributed to this effort. We went to "Moroko", which is one of the worst in poverty. It is known as a slum. They specifically serve children at this location. When we arrived at our destination, kids were yelling, cheering and running to the van. They knew what was coming and were eager to partake of their weekly ritual. The van parked and the lead, John, opened the back doors where the bags of food and water were stacked in piles. Children ran to make a line, some were pushing one another to assure a quick spot. I watched as, one by one, they handed a bag of food and a bag of water to each child. Hand to hand, this simple act brought so much to the children on this day. On the drive home, people would run beside the van, hoping they would get something. It was a blessed day. As Yemi (operations manager) claimed, the food they distribute is "spiritual food" and the nutrition is beyond that of the physical. To read further detail about this day, go to "Archives", click on July 2006, and read "Impressive Acts Lead to Nourishment".

Spirit of Children: 2005

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    Another highlight for me was the children; the quantity of pictures I took is testimony to this. My heart and spirit were so touched by their presence! I think the pictures speak for themselves. I suggest you play a favorite song in the background as you view and receive the gifts of these big Spirits.

Commissioning Day: 2005

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    This big day was a culmination and celebration of the work done thus far. People came from neighboring villages, governmental officials were present, one of the Chevron representatives we met with attended. The energy was high, the buzz was about. While the recognition of the success of the completion of the library was central to this day.... it was relationships built and the new beginnings forged that brought hope, inspiration and joy in the minds and hearts of people present.

The Making of a Mosaic: 2005

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    As we began our work on the library, Tammi shared a vision to create a mosaic in the front of the library. We wanted items collected from the village, the people of the village and the delegates. People were invited to bring personal items. One of the days, Tammi and I went through the village with children to find shells and rocks. As we winded through the village paths and homes, locals welcomed us and more became interested in our project. By the time we got back to the library with full bowls of shells and rocks, we found our group of children had grown.

The Building of the Library: 2005

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    One of the many rewarding aspects of the journey was partnering with dedicated members of the delegation and community to finish building the library. I joined the construction and landscaping team with the desire to work hard and get dirty! I loved joining together with hearts and hands as we transformed the building and space and began fostering community ownership of the library.

Welcome to Oporoza!: 2005

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    After several hours on the boats, we approached a pier where I could see and hear the faint echoes of people waving their arms and cheering. As we got closer, I was in awe of the display of welcoming before us. There were about 5 boats loaded with people. They were dressed beautifully, adorned in colorful fabrics. They were chanting songs of welcome in their language and some were playing drums. A few were dancing on the end of the boat as they guided the others in song and celebration. We stopped our boat and they moved around us, paddling in sink with one another and blanketing us with their love and appreciation. It truly was one of the highlights of my life! An amazing display of culture, an astounding experience of genuine welcome.

Boat Ride to Oporoza: 2005

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    It's difficult to choose my favorite parts of this journey. Each experience had its own gift. Having said that, the boat ride to Oporoza was definately a highlight. From Warri, we took about 7 boats and a couple hours winding in the waters, seeing and feeling the delta from a unique and rare perspective.

Sites on the Road...Lagos and Beyond: 2005

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    From the first time I was on the road in Nigeria, I was intrigued by the cultural sights and experiences. Being in a vehicle navigating the roads with no infrastructure, people walking up to the windows selling items, and sights of markets, people, garbage; my senses and spirit were introduced over and again to some of this countrys realities simply by looking through windows.

A Visit to the Beach: 2005

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    After our visit with representatives at Chevron, we went to the beach for a late lunch. It was a fascinating cultural experience with bargaining, live musicians gathering around us, a woman who was enamored by us, and attempts for our purchasing power. It was the beginning of many chicken and rice meals.

Getting Down in Lagos: 2005

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    This was our first night with some of the Nigerian delegates. After a full day of travel, a group of us sat at the outdoor bar to relax and enjoy the night. Live music played. Before I knew it, two of the Nigerian women invited me and Tammi to dance and we were introduced to getting down Nigerian style. Soon, others joined and we had a circle cheering one another on as we each danced our unique dance. I can hear the voices, "Go Kendra, go Kendra!" FUN!

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This is a great article. Wow, so many of these things I never thought of before. I often read posts, even on this site, and I think they are great, but I don’t take the time to leave a comment. I’m going to start leaving more comments for sure.

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