Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My kids are Awesome!

There are so many reasons why this goofy picture of my son at the Medina Market in Accra, Ghana, makes my smile. I can just imagine my daughter Alexandra saying "Hey Stephen, go stand over there so I can take a picture of that scene for Mom".  How did I  know that?  Because I have asked them to do that for me time and time again, photographing people over their shoulders, so that my subject remained unaware and natural.

Last year my daughter gave me a wonderful gift, all the photos she took during the six months she lived in Africa. She is an amazing photographer. I often go through her photos looking for inspiration. Yesterday, I was looking for one particular photo I had seen of a little girl at the market when I saw this photo of my son. Before I ever went to Ghana or even thought I would, we sent our 16 year old son Stephen to visit his 19 year old sister. Stephen and Alex had some real adventures together. As a mother who worries, I am glad they told me about them after they had returned safely back to their host family's home. 

I never thought I would ever go to Africa so I asked Alexandra to take some very specific photos for me to use in my paintings. This was no easy task. But, it ends up that many of the best pictures were taken on the day she went to the market with her little brother. I could see how well they worked as a team. He served as a distraction so she could take photos without causing a scene or getting anyone upset, which had happened to her before. 

Here is the finished painting. I had forgotten that Stephen was in the original photo that inspired this painting. Now, I know what the woman in the background is looking at my daughter taking her brother's picture. To purchase this painting or a print, go to

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pictures of the books and supplies in Africa

Here are a few pictures of the books and school supplies with the children at Future Leaders UCC.  Enjoy.

This is the first time that there was a text book for every student in a class. With phonics books for every level the kids can now advance at their own pace.

Children in Ghana with their new supplies.

Children at  Waples Mill Elementary School with the donations they collected.

The new reading  library in Ghana. Many of the parents in this area can not read and write themselves. Their options for employment are very, very limited. Now that their children are learning to read and write the family has a much greater chance for a better life. 

The kids holding up samples of the donations. If you give me a donation I will make sure that it ends up in the hands of a child in need. It will not go to waste sitting in a warehouse somewhere.

Even if they had the money to buy these books, which would be an enormous amount to them,  there is no where around to buy them.

In this picture  the teacher in the back holds up a teacher's manual. Teachers are very hard to find, money to pay teachers is very hard to raise . Imagine the help it will be for a teacher with very little or no training a to have a book with prepared lessons for every day of the year.

The learning games have been especially helpful with the one on one sessions with volunteers.

The little structure to the right is a typical classroom. Without this special place where poor children can learn for free and get a meal each day,  they would most likely go hungry and be out on the street.

I am going to continue to collect for Future Leaders. With 170 children at the center and many more on the waiting list the need is still great. I am looking for learning games, lap top computers, books, clothes, shoes, school supplies, sewing machines and soccer balls. Please email me if you have anything to donate.