Exactly two years ago I traveled to rural Sierra Leone with a nonprofit group called the Sierra Leone Plymouth Partnership (SLPP). As a documentary and portrait photographer, my goal on the trip was to visually represent the group’s work providing relief to the residents of three small villages that, like most of Sierra Leone, had been almost entirely decimated by the country’s civil war in the 1990s. It was a life-changing trip, and one that I still feel fortunate to have made.
Each year a group of SLPP volunteers return to the villages to meet with residents and work together to improve their quality of life. This year’s trip is a little different: cell phone towers have gone up very close to the villages, making live blog posts possible. I’d encourage anyone to check out the SLPP blog, in particular this week while they’re in the villages, for an unfiltered sense of what it’s like to visit one of the poorest nations in the world: a complicated, but entirely enriching, experience for us members of the ‘first world.’
If you’re interested in seeing my take on Sierra Leone, please visit my Sierra Leone gallery. Also, I have a traveling exhibition of portraits from the trip entitled Made Real: Portraits from Sierra Leone that can be viewed and purchased online. All proceeds directly benefit the Sierra Leone Plymouth Partnership.