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Ace Africa Tanzania & Kenya – February 2015

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My photography and film-making took me into more parts of unseen Africa travelling to Tanzania and Kenya with my old friends Ace Africa this February.

Kome Island is a remote outpost on Tanzania’s southern section of Lake Victoria. A couple of hours drive and two ferry journeys away from Mwanza. It is a new and challenging venture for Ace Africa.

Far from tourist eyes, this island is home to two distinct groups of people.  The indigenous farming community predominate with their rural agriculture-based subsistence way of life and their deeply entrenched beliefs in black magic; then alongside them Рbut socially separated Рthere is the much smaller itinerant coastal population who work as fishermen out of the sandy lakeside village of Buhama Mchangani; complete with their prostitutes and their tough, ascetic way of life.

On Kome, with its strange paradoxes and remote setting, I found perhaps some of the poorest people I have met anywhere. One house I visited  (the home of Leticia pictured here with her 6 children) was perhaps the most meagre home I have ever entered. It had nothing. No furniture, no possessions Рnothing!

There is a hardness here; something that is etched in the faces of the people who live here that I have not really encountered anywhere else I have been in Africa and is really quite disturbing. What it is precisely is hard to quantify. I think it may just be the result of living without hope.

The journey continued up into Kenya. Back to Bungoma. The original home of Ace Africa and the place I first photographed for them back in 2003. I was making a film with ACE Africa beneficiary Christine Nasimuyu, a 38 year old woman who had been left by her husband while pregnant with their seventh child. The photographs here are different; full of possibility and purpose.

I look forward to returning to Kome one day in the not too distant future to find that the same attitude has developed there with the help of Ace Africa.

To see a much larger range of my pictures for ACE Africa and to find out more about their work please go to ACE-Africa.org