Mercy Ministries is an aspect of the Mercy Ships that provides off-ship ministry opportunities for crew to interact with those who can’t be reached and helped through the on board services of the Africa Mercy. They haven’t been reported too much in my short time here, so myself and Claire decided to tag along on one. Along with two other cars of MS volunteers we met up with pupils of L’Envol-Bē School for Special Needs children to visit a number of things, including a small slave castle and lake Togo.
The children had a variety of learning difficulties, some recognizably due to genetic disorders like Down’s Syndrome. In general the kids were extremely likeable and loving, seeking friendship from these strange yovo’s (white people). Very few of them were a problem, and those that often were had teacher’s on hand to make sure they didn’t disrupt the class too much. Some of them were clearly comfortable with the situation, whereas others were notably confused by us coming along.
These photos are simply a short record of the interactions between special needs children and the MS volunteers, as well as each other.
I don’t usually like mixing colour with black and white – and it’s not common practice in photo essays/stories/exhibitions – however for a group photo I’ll make an exception. The reason why the rest are in black and white is a subjective one. I’ve been shooting more colour recently than I used to, but there’s a beauty in black and white that emphasises the shape and composition where sometimes colour distracts. Sometimes it’s a difficult decision – in many parts of the world vibrant colours are part of the culture and your instinct is to show that, but it can sometimes distract from the point of the story. Sometimes black and white can make images that much more powerful. I think a group photo in colour describes the atmosphere better however.