Faces of The Gambia
Being able to travel and share images from around the world is one of Lisa’s passions. In March, 2013 she was delighted to be invited to accompany one of her closest friends Becky Johnson (founder of the charity Hadamayaa), to The Gambia.
“This trip was a wonderful opportunity to support my friend in her kind mission to help improve the lives of women and children in Africa. Lisa worked for this charity to help raise and give donated items to the community. Lisa was also present during the drilling of the borehole, one of Hadamayaa’s first major projects. This will provide fresh water to the community on the west coast of Tujering. Becky has plans for building an orphanage and education centre here. She hopes to run volunteer projects, teaching new skills and helping sponsor children to have an education. Lisa says: “it is a really lovely thing that Becky is doing and I am very excited for her and the community that will benefit from this.
Africa is a developing country known for poverty, disease and starvation, however being in the Gambia made Lisa realise that although this country is not rich in materialism, it is rich in love. “Everyone welcomed me, offering a place to sleep and food, even if it meant going without themselves. The people of the Gambia were not greedy, self-centred or superficial. They work hard, want to learn and they are grateful, contrasted to a disposable and mass consumerism life style that other societies may have been accustomed to. Lisa expected to see pain and suffering, instead she saw a society that respects one another, is in tune with nature and who lives for the simple things in life despite their trials and tribulations. “I really gained good perspective on my life, when I am home surrounded by possessions and home comforts, I realise that we do not own our possessions, they own us, nor are we defined by them.”
In the Gambia the pace of life is very slow compared to England’s busy schedule. Lisa felt something could be learned from this peaceful and contented society and feels that many western cultures have so much pressure on individuals to become an unrealistic and unobtainable ideal sold to us by advertising.
The anxiety of social conformity can often make us feel that we have failed unless we are high achievers, wealthy, fashionable, own the latest gadgets, have an expensive car and home. This can be particularly tiring and self-destructive and that with all other information surrounding us in our busy lives, we may neglect our basic needs for living. Lisa questions “How often do we really stop and appreciate the beauty of living? Most of us may not be living, we merely exist.”
Lisa’s ‘Faces of the Gambia’ is a series of portraits of people, mainly children, that Lisa had the pleasure to meet. Submerged within African culture she was able to get to know these people and explore them on an emotional and delicate level. “These people were soothing to my soul and genuine with their affection. I wanted to capture their beauty naturally, un-posed in their home environment. I wanted to share what I had seen, what I had learned and been part of. Lisa loves how the Gambian people spend so much of their daily routine outside cooking, eating, showering, socialising, she explains that she was intrigued and mesmerised by this unfamiliar land and the way in which they live.