During my last trip to Africa, I was constantly thinking about the way I'm doing my documentary work, the way I choose to tell stories and depict the people I'm documeting. I want to make sure that I do them justice, that I represent them in the right manner and that they would be pleased and happy with the results.
I admit, it's hard.
I visit many rural areas, often in developing countries where it's impossible to not see the problems and chellenges that we, in western countries, don't even consider to be problems anymore.
I sometimes think that it would be impossible for people who watch my photos or films, to see anything else but people living in poverty, even if that's not what I intend to present to them. True, most African countries are, indeed, very poor. many of them do suffer from corruption, inadequate healthcare services, harsh natural challenges - such as lack of access to clean water - and an unfortunate ongoing dependancy on aid from other countries.
But I believe that those who visit Africa - but really visit it - will notice its really so much more than that. True, most people in Africa have a dark skin, but they remain some of the most colorful people that I've ever met. They're kind, they're proud, and it feels like they really know how to be happy.
Everything that I just said is obviously an oversimplification. On the one hand, It's very important to me to not oversimplify anything, but on the other hand, how could I possibly talk about everything?
I usually do want to dive into deeper social phenomenons, learn more about the world, and bring personal stories that would represent wider issues. I've tried to do it in the past, and I still do it today.
But this time, I decided to stay on the simple side.
This time, I wanted to find inspiration in the simple lives of ordinary people, who would simply tell their stories the way that they want. This time, it wasn't about learning, but about observance and experience.
So I found a fisherman who goes out to fish in the lake every day;
Then I found a shoe salesman, who sells shoes at the local market;
And then I found a head teacher of a small rural school, who simply loves children.
Mukagabiro Honoree lives in a small village in eastern Rwanda. She is married to a local police officer, and has a four-year-old daughter. She has been a teacher for several years, and has been a head teacher for two years. In this short docmentary, she talks about the school life, about home, and about some of the challenges, as well as benefits of living in a small rural area. She is a good person, who loves what she does, and wants what's best for her family and for her students. I will let her tell her own story, which you can watch in the short film, accompanied by a series of photographs, presented below: