A Moment in the Glass: The Secret Life of Uganda's Daughters
Endeavoring to portray women and girls not as victims in need of saviors, but as leaders of their own change is integral to my work. The fundamental cultural, spiritual and philosophical values of Ugandan women are not only inspirational, but are standards to which all could aspire. To see their children at play, hands lifted in the air in joyful abandonment despite an oppressive environment shows the resilience of the human spirit. In Uganda the relationship between mother and child is especially poignant and the creation of families in such difficult conditions speaks to the best qualities of the human soul.
In partnership with NGO Soft Power Health, this essay documents the resiliency of women and families wresting back control over their lives, destinies and bodies while shouldering the primary economic and social responsibility for households left fatherless due to multiple pandemics, polygamy practices, and decades of war at the hands of the LRA.
Uganda is a land of contradiction. Overwhelming sorrow and immense joy exist side by side. In the wake of 30,000 child soldier abductions, 26 years of the LRA and Joseph Kony's mindless slaughter, and with malaria and HIV/AIDS pandemics ravaging communities already haunted by the specter of dictatorship, genocide, and war -Ugandans embody an irrepressible spirit of optimism, courage, and love.
We live in a news culture that presents the most traumatic and tragic sound bites of world events, showing us the pain and suffering of one catastrophic event after another. While the Kony 2012 video brought a wave of attention to Uganda, subsequent headlines have often failed to adequately represent the inspirational resilience and beauty of its survivors. "A Moment in the Glass: The Secret Life of Uganda's Daughters" challenges the common depictions of Africa, particularly African women, by telling the visual story of women and girls in post-conflict Uganda. Resilient women of hope and determination who are working to create peaceful communities where they and their families are free from all forms of violence.
Uganda, like most of Africa, is far more complex, engaging, and vibrant than the images the popular media would have us believe. And Ugandan women, often considered the invisible backbone of their society, are emerging from the cultural shadows and reclaiming the fundamental rights of their families to exist, grow and thrive in a land that is struggling to maintain fragile pockets of peace in the midst of poverty and devastation.
A home: a place to rest, to eat and to be. The dirt floor, the crowded rooms, the lantern, and the outhouse do not detract from the fact that a home is a home. Over 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty around the world. They live without the thought or idea of the luxuries experienced in the developed world. Yet these Ugandan faces tell another tale. Their faces show life and celebration through the joy, pain, and love of everyday living.
Poverty is visible for all to see, but what is often more difficult is seeing individuals - the dignity, beauty splendor and hope that can be found in the human spirit - regardless of circumstance. I try to convey that dignity and spirit of individuals and communities who are often misunderstood, negatively represented, or simply not represented in the traditional visual vocabulary.
The Secret Life of Uganda's Daughters