This post can be read in 3 languages:
Euskara | English | Castellano
Last year I had the opportunity to visit Ethiopia as part of my collaboration with a small NGO from San Sebastian called Etiopia Utopia. I was traveling to a country as I had never done before, as a volunteer, and moreover my task was related to my hobby, photography.
“This is my biggest photographic project ever that I am so happy to share”
In the following posts, along with many pictures I took, I will share how my experience was, what I learnt and how I lived this amazing adventure that definitely changed some of my points of view. You will find all the information in the following 6 posts:
The plan for my stay was to be joining David and Ana in their everyday tasks so I could capture the NGO’s activities, focusing specially in the latest projects that they were working on. Etiopia Utopia works always collaborating and supporting local NGOs helping them in organising and coordinating activities or providing funding.
During my stay, I performed two types of photography. My main task was to document the four projects in which the foundation was working on at the time, which were: Wukro’s athletes team support, a mini-dam construction, the conservation of a riverside and an educative project related to women’s menstruation in various schools.
On my free time, I walked the streets of Mekele and Wukro camera in hand, visited some ancient churches in the north of the country or traveled to one of the deepest points of the earth in the desert of Danakil. The pictures I got during this time were not as documental as the previous ones and it is where I had more freedom to apply my photographic style. These pictures were grouped in a section called “Ibili kaleak” as a separated mini-project (“Walk the streets” in Euskera).
With all the pictures I took we have built an exposition for which we are looking for places to show. If you know any or are interested in it, please check the contact form at the bottom of the post
Of course Ethiopia is such a special country because of their culture, history and traditions. Being so close to the local people in their everyday life allowed me to live these from such a close perspective, something you are never able to get when you go to a country as a tourist. All that I could learn from this was by no doubt the most valuable “thing” I got from my visit.
One other important fact I learnt is that many times NGOs work or take decisions based on their own interests, in order to raise more funding from governments or to use their actions to improve their social image. However, on my experience with Etiopia Utopia I could learn this is not always like that.
Etiopia Utopia applies a very high level of auto-criticism of every activity they do, and how they do it, always being their objective the development of the local community, and not their own one.
I will not forget one of my first days in Mekele, walking around with David and Ana, when they were asking me if donating a container full of backpacks for students was a good or helpful action for the community. I did not answer to that question, and I am still not able to. They had a clear idea that charity and collaboration have quite different meanings that unfortunately, many times are confused or misused.
In the following posts I will share my experiences during the visits to the different projects I mentioned before, including of course some of the pictures I took, which I hope you will like.
Again, if you have a space where our exposition could be shown, please contact us.
Check other posts:
Ethiopia VI – Ibili Kaleak street photography (eng)
Street photography project in Ethiopia; livings, thoughts and curiosities.
Ethiopia V – Wukro Atletismo (eng)
A journey through Wukro and its athletes team in order to understand what is passion.
Ethiopia IV – Kainaberak II project (eng)
Another project related to the water and community actions.
Ethiopia III – Mini Dam (eng)
My experience and learnings from a dam we visited in Ethiopia.
Shooting modes for street photography
In this post I explain alternative shooting modes from automatic in order to get the maximum of our camera in street photography.