Kenya and South Sudan: A Photo Essay on Beauty, Pain, and Resilience

Last month, I traveled with four incredible individuals to World Concern’s project sites in Kenya and South Sudan. In order to see numerous projects and meet a variety of beneficiaries, the majority of our trip was spent in planes, cars, buses, and LandRovers (thanks God for these shock resistant vehicles- 99% of our journey involved jostling over hours of dirt roads). While in Kenya, we visited five or so villages (many of them Internally Displaced Peoples) in the Eastern part of the country. Due to the largest drought in the Horn of Africa in the last 60 years, these pastoralist communities have lost all of their livestock and are now living off of Red Cross Rations and minimal water soures. World Concern’s hope is to assist these people with the basic needs of survival (food and clean water) and then empower the people to sustain themselves. The following pictures will tell the stories of some of World Concern’s sustainable development projects. Moving beyond handouts.

South Sudan, the newest country in the world, is rich in resources, culture, and possibility. The majority of its population is starting their lives, and their country for that matter, from scratch. Many fled the country due to persecution and are now returning to begin their lives anew. Traveling through South Sudan, you can sense the excitement and sense of possibilty. Unfortuantely, the country has little to no infrastructure and many people are without any sort of job or educational training. The current World Concern field staff, various other NGO workers, and South Sudanese people will be the shapers and builders of this country that stands on the brink of an incredibly hopeful and successful future. Partner with me in sharing their stories!

These photos share the beauty, depravity, successes, and difficulties of the projects and people of World Concern. Though their circumstances, language, and environment are unfamiliar to us in the states, these are the stories of humans. Humans who have families, siblings, frustrations, joys- whose unique and valuable stories deserve to be heard.

Ad for drinking lean water in Balambala, Kenya

Jonathan Young (, Farrah (WC fieldworker staff) and Derek Sciba (WC Marketing and Donor Relations Director) talking logistics.

A beautiful woman in Balamabala. THE COLORS. stunning.

Getting into it.

Water Tank, Kenya.

Empty Jerrycan.

Barbed wire hospital compound. Saka, Kenya (stepped on a HUGE thorn here that went through my shoe- good thing we were at a hospital!)

One of the many vehicles that we traveled in- these things can endure most anything! (except when the battery dies every time we turn them off and we then have to repeatedly push start the engine..)

Apparently this was not an affective method of protection. Hospital. Saka, Kenya.

This man’s only source of income is a small stipend to do medical assessments for World Concern. On this day, he had just brought a man into the hospital by wheelbarrow. The man was seriously ill and believed to have Malaria. He hopes to one day have enough training to work at the hospital for a larger wage.

assessing for malnutrition.

A mother and her six children in their hut in Benane, Kenya (an IDP community). They walked over 200km after losing hundreds of livestock in the drought. This family is currently surviving off of Red Cross rations.

The family hut. Everyone sleeps and lives here.

The mother is worried about her son, who is continually drooling.

A common compound in Benane. The land is drought-ridden, thorn infested, and unforgiving.

School in Benane, Kenya. Check out the anatomy painting. Very informative.

Layin’ it all out there.

These children are now able to attend school because they no longer have to spend hours of their day traveling to water sources. They are also healthier due to accessibility to clean water.

Local water source. Benane, Kenya.

Yes, people drink this.

World Concern supported water harvesting in Benane, Kenya.

Garissa Staff doing their thing.

Jonathan and a Siqley village leader. Walking to the new farm. Kenya

Farmers in training. Sustainable work at its finest. Siqley, Kenya

The farmers (women were farming just behind them!). Note the orange henna beards.

Siqley mosque leader and his family. Planting a banana tree.

Beautiful girl in the Siqley village.

Latrine juxtaposition

World Concern water harvesting tank built by Siqley locals.

Self-explanatory (Eugene Cho. Founder of One Day’s Wages.

VIP! (ventilated improved pit latrine) Kenya

Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC). Juba, South Sudan

Culture clash

CCC kitchen

Lietnomh, South Sudan

Lietnomh World Concern Staff.

Family in Lietnomh. Farmers and beneficiaries of World Concern’s training and loan programs.

Check out that corn.

World Concern trained mechanic. Largest smile in Lietnomh, South Sudan

This man has opened a fish farm at the market because of a loan from World Concern. Lietnomh, South Sudan

Fish fat balls

fish farmer

World Concern loan recipient and member of one of many savings groups in Kuajok, South Sudan.

Derek at work. What a guy.

Kuajok, South Sudan

18 year old mother and Tea Shop owner in Kuajok. Bahtika was able to open her tea shop due to a loan from World Concern.

Bahtika and her shop

Kuajok farmer and recipient of World Concern loans.

For more information on the work I will be doing as World Concern’s Africa Communication Liaison, read this.

For information on how to become a monthly partner, click here.

Thanks for your continued support as I am still raising my budget. It is my goal to be living in the field by this November. In order to reach this goal, I need about $900 more a month. Sounds like a lot, but if only 18 people give $50 a month, the goal will be reached!

Asante Sana!, Kelly







3 thoughts on “Kenya and South Sudan: A Photo Essay on Beauty, Pain, and Resilience

  1. iy

    kelly — i had no idea you were so talented a photographer! this is AMAZING work. such compassion, love, and joy come through in your photos, beautiful lighting and composition and colors. you can see how you loved the visit just by the way you saw through the lens.

    i am so proud and excited.

    love love love.

  2. Pingback: Giving Thanks: I should do this more than once a year. | Voice through a Window

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