Finding Hope in Photos: Children and Uganda
cross-posted to Snapshot Chronicles
The background: Part of friendship is to say thank you. We decided to thank the bloggers who wrote about the contest by making a donation of an HP digital camera, compact photo printer and some supplies to a charity of their choice.We also decided to send the gear directly to the women, so they could have the pleasure of donating it personally to their favorite local charities.
Because the donation aspect was not promoted in advance, it was a bit of a surprise to the bloggers when they got the email offering them the gear, but none of them had any trouble thinking of a cause that meant something to them personally. They also all took the time to let us know what they planned to do with it, even though we didn't make it a requirement that they do so.
Tracey Clark's donation is going to war-torn Northern Uganda next month with Katie Gardner of San Diego.
Katie is part of a group connected with Children of the Nations. They will be spending three weeks working with children and families in the IDP (internally displaced people) camps. Some of the folks going will be doing counseling, but Katie and small group of four or five others will be doing photo projects with the children.
She told me that working with third-world children, giving them a chance to use photography as a creative outlet has been a dream of hers ever since she saw the documentary Born into Brothels which documents the lives of children who live in Calcutta's red-light district.
"When kids take pictures, they have a unique view. I'm really looking forward to helping these children experience the world in new ways through photography. I hope it gives them hope for the future."
Including the camera and compact printer donated by HP, Katie has two brand new digital cameras, two printers, a handful of used polaroid cameras and cash donations from friends and family to purchase supplies. They still need a scanner so they can scan in the polaroids and leave the originals with the children. If you'd like to help, drop Katie a note at email@example.com.
Katie thinks it's important that we hear and see the smaller stories from Africa and other third world nations, not just the larger than life efforts of celebrities like Madonna and Bono so she is developing a blog to document her Uganda trip. You'll also be reading more about Katie's project on Snapshot Chronicles and on Tracey's blog, Picture This.
Over the summer, Katie's kids in Uganda, Tracey's daughter Julia (age 9) in California,Â my son Douglas (age 7) here in Massachusetts and two friends of Katie's in San Diego, ages 7 and 9, will take pictures using some simple themes, including laughter, friends, sunshine and where I live. When Katie returns in August, we'll do a series of posts showing their worlds through their eyes. It should be interesting to see the differences and similarities between the American and Ugandan children.
Katie says she hopes these pictures will help Americans better understand what is happening in Uganda:
"Not only do I want the kids in Uganda to have a creative outlet to think about their lives in a new way, I want people back home to be transformed by seeing the world though these kids' eyes. And I want both sides to really see the potential for hope in places where people have been suffering for so many years. I want people back home to be moved to see how they can make a difference; and even if not in Africa, then how can we make a difference in our own backyard? I'm lucky enough to go overseas, but it's so easy to be the catalyst for change in our own families and neighborhoods when we allow ourselves to open our eyes to what's going on around the world."
Bon voyage, Katie.
Check out Invisible Children, another group that helps the children of Uganda.
Update, 27 June: Tracey's post Picture Hope
Diversions: Snapshot Chronicles
I've just started a new photo blog, Snapshot Chronicles. If you are interested in the misadventures of me and my son as we fool around with our point and shoot cameras, come on over. Looking for a serious photo blog? Umm. Nope.
We'll be talking about our trips and photo projects. Evaluating the content of the tips pages at the major camera manufacturers. Who knows, we might eventually fool around with photo editing software and maybe even dabble with a digital SLR. But don't hold your breath on the last. Or on anything too serious.
We aim to have us some fun. See you there.
It'll be raining cats and dogs on Typepad's Featured Blogs
Yes, it is all about CATS
At New Comm Forum in March, one of the points on keynoter David Weinberger's slides was that the Internet was not all about Cats.
Well, maybe. But it does seem like there are an awful lot of cats online. Some recent data points:
- when you sign up for StumbleUpon, you are offered an interest category for Cats, but not Dogs;
- this gem, LOLCat Builder, via Elisa Camahort:
In case you can't quite tell, the animal emerging from the pet door is one of our scottie puppies.
So take a break from twitting and go build your own clever cat image. And, don't worry, if you don't have a cat of your own, there are plenty of images to choose from :-)
Because yes, it is all about cats.
Reva Watches Westminster
Reva (Ch. Blueberry's Best Served Cold) watches the Terrier Group.
Best wishes to everyone for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
A tale of two shows: High Fidelity and Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey
This past weekend I attended two shows, High Fidelity and the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus (Red Tour).
High Fidelity is a new musical based on the book by Nick Hornby and the film starring John Cusack and Jack Black. While I have not read the book, I loved the movie, and am happy to report that this musical does a wonderful job of echoing the feeling of the film, without trying to copy it. Edgy but not depressing, it was a great two hours of musical theatre. The performers are excellent, and I urge you to check it out if you have the chance. Right now, it is in a pre-Broadway engagement in Boston. Broadway previews begin in late November, opening December 7th.
I love the circus. Always have. Probably always will. So, we splurged and bought "Circus Celebrity" tickets for the current Ringling Brothers "Red" tour show which finished up in Boston last night. Pretty pricy tickets, you're seated in the first two rows at the center ring, and you get to "participate" in the circus. As I recalled, it was pretty much riding around in a little train thing in the rings, and seeing the circus close close up. I thought my son would love it and was looking forward to doing it with him.
I was very disappointed. Instead of keeping the family together, for the first 5 minutes or so of the "participation" experience, my husband and son were sent one place (I found out later the center ring to dance with clowns) and my mom and I were shunted off to dance on the edges with some acrobat and a clown. There was no explanation of what was going to happen, no opportunity for my husband and I to switch places so I could go with my son. Which would have made things a little better anyway. Between my husband David and I, I am (or was?) the big circus fan, and would have enjoyed it more. They then brought us together again, and with another family, we got into some sort of teacup thing and rode around the rings a bit, and watched one act from "on the floor."
The saving grace at least was that Douglas enjoyed it, which in the end is what it is really all about for me. But I won't be in any hurry to do it again. I think it is poorly thought out at best to split up family groups who have paid EXTREMELY good money for the experience .Even for a few minutes. And certainly not without an explanation. I wasn't at the circus to see it through my mom's eyes, much as I love her. Or perform. For me, for any parent, it is all about our children. I wanted to do it with my son.
The Red Tour's motto is "saving the day from every day" and on this dimension, I have to say, they didn't come anywhere near close. Poor customer service feels just like every day. Nothing special. And that's too bad, because the circus is supposed to be a magical place for children of all ages.
Not this one on that day.
Now before anyone jumps on me for not giving the circus a chance to respond, I have indeed emailed them with my comment and will post any reply I get. But I am too irritated... still... to wait for the response before I post. Does that make me a cranky bitch? Probably, but so it goes.
Later today...more thoughts on Wal-Mart.
UPDATE: Ringling Brothers got back to me, SAME DAY, so bonus points for promptness. Plus, the reply indicates that they cared enough to actually respond to my specific criticism. Sad to say, that isn't the customer service we get everyday, so well done on that score. It goes a long way to mollifying this cranky person. Not all the way mind you, but much farther than I was this morning :-)
Here's the email:
Thank you for contacting Ringling Bros.
We are sorry to learn that you were disappointed with the Circus Celebrity portion of the show. We are happy to forward your feedback on to the producers of the show as they start working on next years new 137th Edition. We will ask that they keep your comments in mind specifically for the Circus celebrity portion of the show.
Once again we appreciate your feedback, and hope that you were able to enjoy the performance despite your disappointment in this portion of the show.Sincererly,Ringling Bros.
"Summertime and the livin' is easy,
Fish are jumpin', and the cotton is high.
Oh your daddy's rich, and your ma is good lookin',
So hush, little baby, don' yo' cry.
One of these mornin's you goin' to rise up singin',
Then you'll spread yo' wings an' you'll take the sky.
But till that mornin', there's a-nothin' can harm you
With Daddy and Mammy standin' by."
(Summertime, from Porgy and Bess, Gershwin, Heyward and Gershwin)
This past week has been pretty busy, and I really didn't have all that much to say, so the blog went a bit silent. Lots of client work right now, so this state of affairs may continue until Labor Day, with maybe one post per week. Never fear, though, I will be back come September ...
I did want to share one truly amazing thing that happened last weekend. I took my mother and son up to Boothbay Harbor Maine for a long weekend (while my husband enjoyed his two-day golf school at home). Boothbay Harbor is a lovely place, and I highly recommend it. But that's not the amazing thing.
We were eating our lunch outside on the 2d floor deck at this small cafe. Unbeknownst to us, the deck was actually over the water. My son was playing with a couple of plastic cars he had just bought, with his own money, when one rolled off the table, off the deck and into the drink. He was pretty upset and no amount of telling him that we could go buy another one would console him.
Here's the amazing part.
A man at an adjoining table who had just finished his lunch asked if the car was still floating, When Douglas replied Yes, the man proceeded to go down on the dock, asked the manager of an adjoining restaurant if he could borrow their little row boat, poled over to the car and retrieved it.
There is a lot of unpleasantness in the world. And occasionally an unexpected act of kindness like this that restores your faith. Whoever, wherever you are, thanks again. You made our day.
Lots of people commenting on Google's nastygrams about the use of its trademark "Google" as a generic. I expect Google knows it can’t prevent the use of “Google” as a generic, but they have to make these efforts to defend the trademark to keep it from passing *legally* into the generic. If it does that — becomes a legal generic — the word could be used inside someone else’s product name, and Google’s brand value literally stolen. You cannot trademark a generic term. Robert Scoble gave the best example: Google wouldn't want to see a new product called "Microsoft Google," would they?
So they make these “good faith” efforts to defend the trademark against improper use. They have to use the proper legal language and so on to make the case strong that they defended the mark in case they ever need it in a full-blown trademark defense. No wishy washy or nudge nudge wink wink letters.
I doubt they really want to prevail and stifle the word of mouth branding they get when we talk about "Googling" something. Think about it, the only way to “win” this battle is to lose the dominant market position so that you no longer define the market. I haven’t heard the term ‘Xerox’ in reference to photocopies in a long time. But ‘Kleenex’ for ’tissue’ is still going strong. Did Xerox do a better job than Kimberly-Clark defending the mark and getting us to switch to the actual generic term ‘photocopy’? Doubt it. Reality is: Xerox no longer defines the market for copiers, so the mark no longer works as well as a generic.
It is quite schizophrenic really — you achieve the goal of becoming the definition of the segment, and then you have to spend time and money preventing people from using you as the definition of the segment. Catch-22.
I’m sure Google would rather be Kleenex than Xerox.
Oh, and the lyrics at the beginning of this post? I Googled 'em.
Explaining evolution to a six-year old
Explaining evolution to a six-year old is not the smartest thing I ever tried to do, but so you have it. I was reading this post at PR-Squared which had this picture:
My son, home from kindergarten on Good Friday, is looking over my shoulder and chuckling at the monkey who turns into a man at a computer. Fool that I am, I tried to explain.
He listened carefully and then asked: "Mom, did you used to be a monkey?"
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Scott Baradell started it. (And, no offense, I'll pass on the date contest).
David Parmet upped the ante. (And please do post more pics of your kids.)
While I really don't give a tinker's dam about rank, I can't resist an excuse to post pictures of my son and my dogs.
So here's my entry in escalating cuteness. Since my son is nowhere near as pretty as David's daughter, I'm going to go for the cumulative effect of dogs and kids :-)
Douglas, playing with his Knex Corkscrew Canyon
Tank, 4-month old Scottie puppy
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