The beginning

It’s been two months since we started again with the #MiradasDeTanzania Exhibition and we still haven’t told you well how everything came about from the beginning… I’m going to try to summarize, it won’t be easy but I will… But first I’m going to introduce myself very briefly, I’m Bárbara Bravo volunteer at Mama Kevina Hope Centre, a centre for children with disabilities in Same (Tanzania). I am not a photographer and this exhibition was born out of respect and humility towards photography professionals.

In 2019 I decided to make a radical change to my life or take a break, I don’t really know what I was looking for but what was clear to me is that I didn’t want to continue with the work rhythm that I’ve been doing since I started my professional career as a publicist. In May 2019, my last professional relationship ended and I decided that it was my time, now or never. So I rescued one of my dreams: to volunteer in Africa. One night in June I started looking for NGO’s and I came across Africa Direct.

And what can I tell you about Africa Directo, which is an incredible NGO, everything that is donated arrives and I can guarantee it. In addition, the human treatment is wonderful, they care about you and take care of you in an indescribable way. I can only say that without them it would not have been and would not be possible to be here, so once again I must say: THANK YOU!

The only requirement they asked for was to be a long-term volunteer, and I said to myself, why not? After a form and two interviews my destination was set: Tanzania. I was going to a center for children with disabilities: Mama Kevina Hope Centre, in the Kilimanjaro region, in a town called Same. I had no idea what was waiting for me there and I was just struggling with my biggest fear: not being useful or being able to help.

I arrived in September with a lot of enthusiasm but also with fear on my back… I immediately integrated, obviously I missed my family and friends, but I felt calm. I thought that the panorama I was going to find was going to be horrible… it is true that these children of Mama Kevina Hope Centre struggle to break barriers and have the best future. But when you see them and look into their eyes you realize that they are happy, in the center they receive a lot of love and affection and for me that is fundamental.

It is true that it took me a while to find my role but I found it, thanks to my training I take control of the projects that arise thanks to the great help of Africa Direct and I try to help them find grants, subsidies and donations. But what I like most is to be with “my children”, trying to help them as much as I can, playing with them or just being together. Those smiles give you life.

In August 2020 I had to return to Spain but I wasn’t sure if I was going to return or stay, but what I was sure of was that I made a promise: “Wherever I am, no matter the place, I will always try to help you.”And so I did, we sold “mask holders”, we raised funds… and one day thinking I said: Why not a small sample of the more than 2,000 photos that I take with me?

Always from the respect and humility as I have told you at the beginning, but I never tire of emphasizing it, I am not a photographer and I did not want anyone to feel offended. So I made a selection of the photos with the help of my closest group, I wrote a dossier and we started writing to different municipalities. Until one day we received a YES from the Ricardo León Library in Galapagar.

It was very exciting and above all to see the involvement of all the members of the Library, and here always goes my special mention for Marina Cuervo who was the one who made this “tour” possible a reality.

After Galapagar, Alpedrete and Pedrezuela came. And in that interval we received the call from the Community of Madrid to take care of the exhibition, we could not be happier. And you will say that because there are times that I speak in singular and others in plural… it has a reason, since the beginning I have received the support and help of my family and friends.

But here’s another special mention to the other 50% of #MiradasDeTanzania: my great friend Antonio Laguna. That makes it possible to continue amplifying all these stories that are behind these looks thanks to being the main speaker. I recommend that you go and listen to him, it is very worthwhile.

This is how Miradas de Tanzania emerged, it is an exhibition made with all my heart. We are waiting for you! Check all the dates here. Asante sana!

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