Kate Cummings

Kate Cummings (Vital Voices in Kenya): Kate was born in the North Carolina mountains, and received her BFA in photography at Sewanee (The University of the South) in 2004. Kate co-founded a meditation group at the Hampshire County Jail in North Carolina where she led meditation sessions with inmates each week. Upon graduation, Kate was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. This allowed her to spend a year photographing in India, Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand, and France. During this year, she photographed Zen Master and international peacemaker Thich Nhat Hanh's first return to Vietnam since his exile 39 years before. Her images were published internationally. She returned to Vietnam in 2007 with Nhat Hanh and his International Peace Delegation to photograph healing ceremonies. Kate moved to western Massachusetts and began teaching photography to at-risk girls. At the time of her fellowship, Kate was studying for her master’s degree at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston. After her fellowship, Kate wrote: “Best experience? This is an impossible question! I think, that by spending so much time with Kenyans in their homes and families and in the community setting… I gained a deep understanding of their successes and their significant challenges...I look at myself now as having the potential to be as strong and caring as the amazing women I met in Kenya.”

Gentle locomotive

06 Sep

Neipamei Ngodia is the only girl in her family of 18 children and three mothers to go to high school.  At 14 years old, she refused to be circumcised (which leads directly into marriage), and was outcast by family and friends for her choice of school over marriage.  Now 16, Neipamei is determined to become a surgeon, and to return to her Maasai village so she can serve people where they are most comfortable – at home, speaking their native language with a doctor who understands not only their illness but also their culture.  Neipamei understands much more than most 16 year olds, and dreams bigger than her society would like.  Being in her presence feels both like standing alongside a gentle soul and a locomotive – she will not be stopped, smiling all the way home.

Video by Kate Cummings. Location: Enoosaen, Kenya. Partner: Vital Voices, 2009.

Posted By Kate Cummings

Posted Sep 6th, 2009

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