Ok - so this post has been way over due and I can only apologise profusely and dive right in...
So just under a year after my first trip to Makoko fishing village, I finally made it back to the place that was the genesis of "Journey Through Makoko". The purpose of the visit was to let Chief Baale Emmanuel of the Makoko Houses on the Lagoon (we'll just call him the Baale for short) know what I was up to, give him a copy of the book and also ensure that I received permission to use the images commercially.
The Baale has lived in Makoko for most of his life and he has over a dozen children ranging from 6 months to young adults. When I started to talk him through the images in the book, it turned out that quite a few of the kids in the book were his, much to his (and my) surprise. So of course, he had to call them over to come see themselves in print. I really can't tell you how amazing it felt to see the huge smiles of delight on the children's faces and hear their shrieks of laughter as they flicked through the pages of my book and pointed to faces they recognised. It was also somewhat surreal to see these oh-so-familiar faces up close and personal, when I had spent so many hours previously staring at them on my laptop screen. The whole experience was completely fulfilling and much more than I could have ever have imagined. In spite of their surroundings, these kids are so full of joy and happiness - one seriously can't help being more upbeat just by being around them. I felt and continue to feel truly blessed to think that something I did contributed to the smiles on their beautiful faces.
As most of you will know, all the proceeds from the book sales are going towards sponsoring the Makoko kids. What the money is spent on will be determined by how much we are able to raise but even if it's only throwing a Christmas party and being able to buy the kids presents, which is not something they get often - then I will certainly feel like we have made a difference, however small, in these children's lives.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed towards the cause and bought a copy / copies of "Journey Through Makoko" - I am extremely grateful for your support and thank you for taking this opportunity to make a difference.
For anyone else who hasn't had a chance to pick up a copy, I urge you to please order one, two, ten copies of the book: not only will you be receiving some beautiful images for your coffeetable but you will be helping the children of a disadvantaged community. Makoko houses some 500,000 people and they don't have enough resources to cater for such a large community. This is one small way to contribute towards helping improve the quality of life of the children of a local community. Christmas and Sallah are just around the corner and this would make the perfect present as it ties in perfectly with the seasons of giving. 🙂 If you are based in Nigeria, you can order via myself - just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you are based abroad, then it's even easier as you can order the book directly from Blurb.
For more background on my experience of Makoko, you can look at my previous posts here and here.
Thanks again for your time and support. God bless.
All the best Wani xxx
Wani Olatunde Photography Beautiful Imagery To Capture Your Moments
Baale surrounded by some of his kids as they peruse "Journey Through Makoko"
As you know I do love a poser and look at this lil fella's intensity - a future in modelling, maybe? Yup, he's in the book too.
It turns out this lady with the baby (in the book) is actually deaf - it's amazing how everyone here just gets on with life irrespective of their circumstances.
the kids do love the camera - love it!
Me and my Makoko crew - aren't they adorable? They really are a joy to be around. See any familiar faces?
They can't get enough of the camera...
This lil lady - she's the one with the hoodie in the book - is one of the Baale's younger children. I think she's around 3 or 4 and she was so shy to see her picture - it was literally too cute for words. She's the lil one hiding her head below.
The grins and smiles on their faces literally made me feel like a million dollars - the ability to be able to use my work to bring some joy into other people's life - well I can tell you there's nothing better. I don't think I have ever felt so fulfilled.
Those smiles make my heart melt...
Baale - a nice man. He doesn't speak a lot of English but spending some time with him - one could see he is a man who really cares about his community and wants to do better by them.
Baale and Dr Olatunde, Project Director of Deux Project - a great supporter of the Makoko community. They have provided them with school boats, uniforms and the main teacher with a laptop with plans to do much more in the community. I will be working in conjunction with Deux Projec to figure out how best to help the kids with the money raised.