Where everyone knows you name, or do they?

January 14, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

This morning at church I was given the Mende name, Kinnie Tikonko. Kinnie simply translates as "a man" and Tikonko is the village we are staying in. In 1995 the Massai of Kenya gave me the name "Oloodo" which means tall giraffe! I now have my given name and also two African names. Names matter, they provide us with a sense of identity. They tell people who we are. 

While being here in Sierra Leone I have tried to get the name of every adult I have photographed as they all have stories to tell. It's a little different with the children, they all want their photo taken so I simply oblige and move on.

In one village this woman approached me as I was taking photos of the Rural Health Care Initiative Community Health Workers and asked me to take her photo. I took the photo and moved on. That moment has haunted me over the last few days. Who was she? What is her name? What story does she need to tell the world? I don't know. 

It struck me that I could ask to go back to her village and find her, and learn her name and story. However I have chosen not to. Why? Because this photograph will forever serve as a reminder of how important it is to learn someone's name and listen to her story.

For that reason I have title this image, "Grace." Grace


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