Shooting in Eastern Africa

Shooting in Eastern Africa

Unfortunately many tourists who visit the Eastern African countries never really get in touch with an average local family. Most tourists get picked up at the airport, stay and eat at the hotel, do safari, climb Kilimanjaro and fly back home so they will never get a feeling of what living in Tanzania feels like. They will never see, feel and smell the every day struggle many families in Tanzania have to deal with.

For five months in 2012 I worked for a project, the Social Reality Tour, that wants to face this problem. In small groups of 2 or 3 people tourists get the chance to visit families living in the slums around Moshi in Tanzania together with a local social worker called Mama Kishe. She supports more than 50 families in the poor villages around Kilimanjaro area for many years. 100% of the money the tourists are willing to spend, will be used to support the community.

My goals while working for that project were collecting money to support the families, pay school fees, pay medicine and secondly make the project better known, spread information, flyers, write articles.
I took photos of every family we visited and collected their stories. I published the photos online on different platforms, online magazines and communities. And the responses were amazing: We were able to collect some hundred dollars from people on the internet who wanted to help.

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Mama Kishe is a social worker in Moshi, Tanzania. She works as a nurse in the local hospital and in her free time she supports more than 50 families in the slum areas around town. Mama Kishe is the heart of the Social Reality Tour, she brings the tourists and the family together, explains the family’s challenges and hopes. The guests will be able to ask questions to the families who are mostly very happy and thankful to have guests in their houses.

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Bernhard is 19 and he lost both parents when he was a child. He was not able to afford the school fees so he quit visiting school. For a few months in the year he is able to work on the fields earning about 1 US dollar per day which barely keeps him living. For the rest of the time Bernhard needs support from the community. Especially his neighbors bring him food and clothing. The Social Reality Tour was able to collect money for Bernhard. He is now visiting a school where he learns the job a carpenter which is what he loves to do. Hopefully this boy will be able to find a job, work and help himself very soon.

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This girl’s name is Queen. Her mother dropped her in front of the grandmothers house and left forever when Queen was only a few months old. She grew up with her HIV-positive grandmother who was, because of her illness, not able to work more that a few hours per day. She was not able to pay the school fees for Queen and the was about to quit. We managed to collect some money online from wonderful people on the internet to pay the girl’s school fees so she will be able to support her grandmother.

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You will get more information about the Social Reality Tour on their website: www.socialrealitytour.com and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/socialrealitytour

 

 

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Konstantin Escher:
Konstantin was born in Berlin in 1988. He fell in love with photography while spending a high school exchange year in the United States when he was 16 years old. He taught himself how to work with a digital camera and how to edit photographs. How Konstantin studies psychology and works as a photographer and ad writer in Basel, Switzerland. The photographs from his five months in Eastern Africa were published in international photography online magazines. In 2010, Konstantin received the award for best single picture on the Fotomarathon Berlin.

6 comments

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  1. Mark Denver

    July 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm
    • K_E_me

      July 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Thank you very much!

      Konstantin
      http://www.k-e.me

    • Mark Denver

      July 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      I’m Fascinated By your work. Next time you come to Kenya, I would really like to join in.

    • K_E_me

      July 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Great. I will let you know 🙂

  2. Thomas Mecha

    July 10, 2013 at 1:18 am

    As much as I really love the idea to portray the every day life of citizens of a country. But there is one aspect I would like to mention: Why do the texts focus so much on their material poverty of these persons? Don’t you think that it might be more realistic to show their potential, their talents, their knowledge so that these tours can lead to an interaction between persons on an equal level? What about persons from the middle-class or higher class (maybe those that benefit mostly from banana, coffee plantations & tourism in Moshi)? Does the tours include visits to these person, so that the visitors can get a “realistic” picture of the society in Moshi? Having read the description of the project it rather looks like poverty-tourism. Please don’t get me wrong: I think the idea is really wonderful and very important considering the fact that there is so much need for interaction. I just wanted to challenge some aspects. Wish you all the best for the continuation of the project and your photography career (really beaututfil pictures :)).

    • K_E_me

      July 10, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Hey Thomas,

      I absolutely get your point. But let me explain to you what the goals of this project are. Before I started working for the Social Reality Tour I had the same thoughts about “poverty tourism”. I thought of kids dancing for and being touched by tourists which is something I absolutely would never support. The few people (never more than 3 in one group) who want to take the tour will be picked up in Moshi by our social worker Mama Kishe and then they take the dala dala to the villages where the families live. She explains the “realistic picture of the society” while walking through the slum areas which is in fact an area where many people live. The main roads, the bars, hotels and tourist restaurants are unfortunately NOT the realistic picture of the society.

      With the family they will have a conversation about their lives, their hopes, dreams, talents, but also the struggles they have to face. Yes, many children will grow up with no parents. Yes, many children will not be able to finish primary school because their parents simply can not afford it. It is these challenges that keep them from hoping. And we want tourists to know, feel, see and smell that. They get the chance to help, give some money to pay school fees or medicine, to help fixing the roof so the rain won’t drop inside. They can individually support another human being. They can stay in touch with our help.

      Sure, most tourists in Tanzania visit banana and coffee plantations, they will do safari, the may climb the Kili and hang out on Zanzibar. But they will have never taken a look behind the walls. They will never build up empathy and understanding, because they will never get in touch with people on the streets. And this is what the Social Reality Tour is all about. 🙂

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