I’ve been home now a couple of weeks and am just really starting to process what I saw and experienced. I’ve been to many places, but never have I experienced the reality of how fragile life can be, as I did on this trip. To see these frail bodies desperate to live, but knowing some are passed the point of help, overwhelmed me. Some too weak to swallow the life giving formula they so desperately need and watch their mothers try in desperation to pour it in their mouths, only to watch it spill out the sides. I also witnessed babies who were improving and mothers whose eyes were filled with hope and were grateful for what Saving Moses is doing to help them. The solution to this problem is simple. Provide consistent therapeutic formula and these babies all have a chance to live and fulfill their destiny. If the solution is simple, then why are so many babies still dying? That question kept passing through my mind. Why can’t more be done?
After over 50 hours of travel, and a nights rest in our hotel, I was ready to get busy with the task of capturing the story of malnutrition in Angola. The first 2 days I was busy doing my job, filtering the hard reality I was viewing through the lens of a camera. I remember thinking to myself, why isn’t this effecting me more? Am I not sensitive to the reality of life and death around me? Do I not care? Then it hit me on the third day. I was busy shooting pictures of the noon feeding in Cubal. About 20 minutes into this feeding, it’s like the experiences of the past couple of days hit me all at once. I put the camera down and began to look around. Mothers and babies, all with the same goal…to live. Some were crying, many were eating, some trying hard to swallow. My emotions were on overload. I felt like my heart was in my throat. I resisted the urge to get back to the task of photographing. It would have been a welcome distraction to what I was feeling, but for 5 minutes, I stopped and just experienced that moment. What I sensed was desperation to live-both on the part of the mothers and babies. I thought, what if Saving Moses wasn’t able to provide the consistent supply of formula as it has for the past 2 years? Things would look very different and at that moment I became fully aware of what Saving Moses is accomplishing in Angola.
Later that day we got to do follow-up visits on 2 moms’ and their babies, who 2 years prior, were in the same struggle for life I just witnessed. Belito and Desore both are doing well, really well. Through the help of Saving Moses, they are alive and thriving. Their mom’s both grateful for the help and love they received that gave their babies the chance to live. I was grateful to be able to see the other side of this desperate story. It helped settle the raw emotions from earlier in the day.
Saving Moses is making a difference in Angola. I have seen the proof.
This experience will stay with me forever. I can’t wipe these memories from my mind, and as strange as it may sound, I don’t want to.
~Joe, Saving Moses cameraman
Account of Angola