When not shooting weddings or portraits in Charleston and the southeast, I often find myself traveling!
Have a read, check out the photos, and drop me a line to let me know what you think!
Uganda is a place of natural wonder. It's a place of beauty. It's a place of fantasticality. Whether for it's massive, nearly incomprehensible variety in bird species (they have just over 1,000 and the ENTIRE United States has just over 900) or for their National Parks that boast expansive safaris featuring panthers, lions, giraffes, water buffalo, and of course much more. But nothing will strike as aggressively as the interaction with their people. The resilience and toughness in their eyes that simply isn't normal.
A mixture of clay, sand, and organic matter that makes up the pale red dirt that is the ground of Uganda is literally everywhere. The roads, almost none of which are paved, are made of pale red dirt. Homes, many of which are constructed out of simple straw, are held together by pale red dirt. After spending a couple of weeks in a rural portion of the country, spotting a new flat screen TV in it's sheen white box became a startling and foreign object. Even if this expensive item was being sold, more or less, on the streets with only a rug separating it from pale red dirt. This is an agriculturally dominant society stuck in poverty and in an economy that's 150 years behind where any first world country is. The lack of medicine and general medical equipment means they lack the basic means to avoid having one of the highest mortality rates among infants in the world. Even in American sponsored hospitals, professionals rely more on a "treat and see" method of diagnostics than they do on the tests that you and I take for granted.
A prevailing attitude was one of stoicism. A practice of fortitude against the harshest elements. But in that lies a purity of joy and kindness. Strength, perseverance, and joy will be what I remember the most from Uganda. It's a life long lesson.
Wanna see where I'm headed next? Be sure to follow me on instagram: @stephenatohi where you can find more of my wedding work around charleston and of course, more of my travel work!