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.”

Most importantly, the children

23 Jul

I’d only be telling my side of the story if I didn’t introduce you to the children of Petah Tikva orphanage.  They are some of the most delightful young people I’ve ever met.  They were always fresh – in appearance and spirit, eager to sing, and beautifully open to just being together.  When I sat down beside them, the girls would lean in, sometimes competitively to see who could get the most body contact with me.  Their warm shoulders pressed against my arms completely softened me; their small frames contained so much love and readiness to be loved, I had nearly forgotten so much feeling was possible.

SnapHere, I was teaching the girls a song that involved snapping before they headed off for school.  There were several other hand-motions, too, but the snapping was their favorite.  Photo: Kate Cummings. Location: Nakuru, Kenya. Partner: Vital Voices, 2009

Posted By Kate Cummings

Posted Jul 23rd, 2009

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