Madagascar Through My Lens

By its land, people, and culture – Madagascar must be one of the most captivating places on our planet. 

Here’s what I saw.

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20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-167_MID CCM_7485_MID CCM_7672_MID CCM_7726_MID CCM_7868_MID CCM_7474_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-103_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-78_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-80_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-181_MID CCM_8162_MID CCM_8144_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-147_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-143_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-175_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-179_MID 20150208_MADA_TOUR_CCM-155_MID Catherine Clarke Murphy

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Ravette: Before and After

Back around Thanksgiving I wrote a about Ravette – the little girl with the enormous smile who had surgery to correct her inverted knees. Well, now our little lady is out of her casts and done with her physical therapy. Not only do her knees bend the right way, but she could out-strut us all in a walk-off. Someone get this girl a runway.

Needless to say, Ravette’s before and after photos are orthopedic gold. Take a look:

Ravette

Ta-daaaaaaa!

Are you smiling at your computer screen like a total softie now? 

Ya me too.

 

 Photos by Josh Callow, Copyright Mercy Ships 2014

the anatomy of a goodbye hug

On Monday we waved goodbye to Benjamine, a 12-year-old burn patient who has been on board for several months. It was beautifully bittersweet.

Benjamine has been our resident Miss Congeniality. For a while after her surgery she was in an airplane splint, which meant that both arms were stuck out to her sides. Did that hurt? Yes. Did she complain? Nope.

Even though each day was Benjamine vs. Door Frame,  she always had a darling smile on her face. We are going to miss having her around.

I watched as some of the wonderful medical staff who cared for Benjamine said au revoir yesterday. 

These are their hugs.

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Photo Credit: Catherine Clarke Murphy

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The End. Thanks for reading.

Today’s photos are by yours truly.
Copyright Mercy Ships 2014.

For more updates from Africa: @clarkemurphy
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Brazzaville Screening

Earlier this week I flew with a team to Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, to see potential patients. I captured the day in photos while our medical team screened and scheduled nearly 300 people to come to the ship for further testing and surgery.

Here’s a glimpse of our Brazzaville assessment day:

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Photo Credit: Catherine Clarke Murphy; The screening site  in Brazzaville.CGA121106_BRAZZAVILLE_SCREENING_CM0254_MID

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It was a good day. 

Photo Cred: Josh Callow, Mercy Ships

^ Photo Cred: Josh Callow, Mercy Ships

Hi. This is really cute.

Are you prepared to handle the fantastic cuteness that is a little girl with a pink balloon?

I thought so.

Photo Credit: Catherine Clarke Murphy

Photo Credit: Catherine Clarke Murphy;

Photo Credit: Catherine Clarke Murphy;

Photo Credit: Catherine Clarke Murphy;

Photo Credit: Catherine Clarke Murphy

but what goes up…

Photo Credit: Catherine Clarke Murphy

…must come down.

(and speaking of balloons: If you haven’t seen it, there is a short French film called Le Ballon Rouge that will enrich your life immensely. It came to mind as I was editing these photos and I really think the world will be a better place if you put it on your Netflix queue. Just sayin.)

Cyber Monday

Yours truly is now the happy curator of not one, but two online photo galleries!  

mustaches

 

The first, over on Red Bubble, is the professional (and still growing) portfolio. If the Red Bubble gallery was a real place, there would be jazz playing and Cricket would greet you at the door with a glass of chilled wine. La ti daa.

Will that be red or white?

 

My second cyber showroom is Instacanvas. Instacanvas is the somewhat-more-casual gallery that says “at least I’m not a Facebook album” and allows you to order from the selection of quality photos I have previously shared on my Instagram account. If my Instacanvas gallery was a real, physical, place, there would be no jazz or wine. Case in point, upon the completion of my Instacanvas portfolio, the website instructed me to share this banner with you:

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Ho hum.

BUT none of that matters because BOTH companies do a great job framing up and packaging high quality photo products no matter their professional atmosphere – and since they aren’t real places, you can even shop in your PJs. I even test-ordered a few Instacanvas products myself and they were very nice (quick disclosure: according to my mom.) For now, I recommend starting on Instacanvas where the selection is bigger. Even more (non-square-cropped) prints will be up on Red Bubble soon.

The profits from these photos will go in my Africa piggybank and help me continue working here on this remarkable continent. :-) I hope you get a chance to shop!

Click Here for RedBubble

Click Here for Instacanvas

 If there is an image you don’t see but would like to order, send me an email at catherineclarkemurphy@gmail.com. :-) 

xx
CM

A Tale of Two Cities

After six months of working in a developing nation, I have been exposed to true human suffering. I’ve witnessed hardship and felt compassion like I never have before. When it came time to board a flight to Paris to visit my family for Christmas, my happiness was conflicted. On my way to the airport we drove through slums; I struggled to reconcile the happy anticipation of traveling with what was happening outside my car window. It didn’t seem fair. How could I fly away from this to the land of milk and honey conscience-free? In a weak moment, I missed the guiltlessness of life before Africa the way one misses childhood – but not for long.

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Since I had arrived here by ship, this was my first time flying in this part of Africa. It was 8:45 pm when we took off from Conakry’s 3-terminal airport. I have become accustomed to the nightly power outtages and unreliable electricity here. It isn’t uncommon to be enjoying fish and chips beachside on a Friday night when the power goes off. Flashlights, matches and candles come out, and the live music carries on without so much as a pause. 

So maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me, as we flew low over Conakry, how few lights there were among such a densely populated peninsula. From an airplane the city looked rural even though Conakry has a population of 2 million people, as estimated by the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs. It was astonishing. I flew away from Conakry finally understanding something I already knew: most of my neighbors were at home in the dark.

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The One With All of the Photography

When I started this site, I knew that photographs would be an important part of sharing stories with you guys. What I didn’t expect was that I would enjoy photography just as much as I enjoy writing.

Below are some photographs from my life here (assuming my painfully slow internet connection gets a move on). They are in no particular order and require little to no brainpower – it is still Monday, after all. So get a cup of coffee, put on some quality tunes and take a gander. Oh, and you are welcome to comment (I love it when you comment.) Bonus points if you get the faint reference in the title of this post.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your constant love and encouragement. Dropping everything and moving to Africa could have been quite the hurdle – but not with friends and family as great as you fine folks. In fact…I think I’ll be staying here a bit longer than planned. But more on that later.

One way or another, I will never really leave this place. Africa will always keep a little part of me.

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