sierra leone, west africa. over the thanksgiving holiday, i was able to spend a week in africa with an incredible group of people from the Sierra Leone International Mission School (SLIMS) and Education Cures. SLIMS was celebrating their 25th anniversary of the school, which made for a really fun week full of celebration and dancing and singing and all my favorite things!
before i jump in, let me give you a backstory to how this all came about...back in may of this year, i was in costa rica working on a volunteer trip with my friends at have fun, do good. one day i wasn't feeling too well, so i found myself sitting in a random cafe in tamarindo, drinking a smoothie. there were a few women sitting at a table next to me, and one asked about my camera. we then began chatting about my photography and i showed her some photos i had taken at a school we volunteered at the day prior. turns out this woman, katie cyphers, owns a non profit in africa & was looking to bring a photographer on her next trip. six months later, here i am in sierra leone with katie and her team. the mere concept of how i got here is 100% a God thing. i love how He places people in your life at just the right time, for all the right reasons, and paves a way for you to shine His light. it's truly an incredible thing! but ok...back to the actual story at hand.
after a little over a 30 hour travel day, we arrived in sierra leone, with eager hearts, open minds, and a goal to serve this school and these people for the next seven days. before we jump into things (again) first and foremost, i want to talk about katie and the amazing work she is doing with education cures. education cures is an organization that provides teacher training to the teachers in sierra leone. helping them learn different tactics and tools to better lead the children and grow them into well educated young adults! education cures also has a heart for children with learning disabilities, and puts a great focus on that area through one on one teaching with the children. all in all, what katie has created is truly miraculous, and the difference she is making in the lives of those in sierra leone should not go unnoticed! below are some images of the work being done at SLIMS through education cures.
the next bit of photos i'd like to share are photos from the local neighborhood surrounding the school campus. walking through this neighborhood really puts quite a bit into perspective and i'm left feeling very grateful for the experience.
i get so emotional just looking through these photos, and like i said before, i am incredibly grateful for this experience to see life lived in a completely different way than i have ever known. next time you are upset about something that you don't have or something that doesn't go your way, i highly encourage you to really think through your emotions in order to prioritize what is truly important in your life. for example, on this trip, we had little to no solid internet access (i couldn't post on instagram, and could hardly send a photo on imessage) & halfway through the trip, my macbook broke. while those are crucial pieces for my career, i really had to stop and think about how i was in a beautiful place surrounded by the happiest people, and simply did not have the right to be upset about anything. i was grateful that my camera was still working fine, i could still take photos, i was healthy, i was experiencing the world, etc. this is why i loved being in africa so much. the simple things that we think hinder our daily life are quickly put into perspective and we realize what really deserves attention.
i want to end this blog post on a high note, so lastly i will show a few of my favorite photos i took in sierra leone with a little backstory on each one. enjoy!
thank you all for one, taking the time to read this blog post. there is so much more that i'd love to say, but i don't want to strain your eyes too much! perhaps i will just make a video! second, thank you for following along the whole trip, and for being such big supporters, encouragers, and lights throughout the journey. i appreciate it more than you know! i look forward to continuing to work alongside education cures and SLIMS and i'm excited to share a few ways that you guys can get involved as well. stay tuned for that on instagram and until next time, keep being amazing.
if you want to check out the amazing people who made this possible, you can do so below!