It would be impossible to tell the real stories of Heifer participants’ lives without our freelance photographers, a point highlighted by a recent blog post celebrating the work of Dave Anderson, who has traveled to Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Tanzania and Romania to document the lives of Heifer participants.
I was lucky enough to accompany Dave to Tanzania to visit a Maasai camel project for the Holiday 2010 issue of World Ark magazine. The country director at the time asked us to set aside at least 10 days so he could show us the real work. Visitors are always in such a hurry, he said. They want to see the real work, but they never want to travel more than a couple of hours from the airport!
Dave and I had no such problem. Our itinerary took us from our arrival in Arusha in the northern part of the country, all the way to the south-central plains and then back to Dar es Salaam for departure, nearly 2,000 miles on the road by the time we boarded the plane headed for home. We collected dozens of stories of Heifer work all over the country, best highlighted by this video that Dave captured while on the trip.
We got pulled over for speeding at least four times and stuck once trying to cross a handmade bridge made of large sticks roped together on the way to a blind fish farmer’s house. We walked the last mile or so to the house, with a neighbor woman offering to carry large photography equipment on her head. One hostel we stayed at out in the boonies of Tanzania had cockroaches the size of a child’s tennis shoe that would not be cowed by the waving of an adult-sized flip-flop.
We saw herds of buffalo, giraffes and baboons as well as elephants and other wild critters from the road and had logistical challenges of the amusing variety such as a fire ant attack at a farm built on the steep slopes of Mount Meru and a motel that forgot to dry our laundry so we had to haul a pile of wet clothes around in the car for days after.
Click here for a few behind-the-scenes shots from a blog on the road I posted that shows just how “involved” photographers can be. Just after the first photo in the zero-grazing pen, Dave tipped backwards into the fragrant muck, illustrating just how important efficient laundry services can be.
Do you have any favorite photos from recent World Arks or blog posts? Email us or comment here to let us know what you’d like to see in future World Ark photos.