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Portraits of Congo

Portraits of Congo

While walking around the small town of Libenge in DR Congo, I saw this kid standing there on his own, not bothered by the noise around him (as I remember there were few kids playing around), busy with his thoughts an the piece of wood (or whatever was that) that kept his hands occupied .

Portraits of Congo

While my colleagues were buying all the bottled water and biscuits from a shop in the local market, these boys were trying to get my attention to be my models for that short moment. The honesty of their joy when I showed them the photo touched me. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Portraits of Congo

This young girl looked like she was walking with a purpose and not just taking whom I presume was her brother, out for a late afternoon leisure walk. I smiled but she didn’t smile back and we both just carried on.

Portraits of Congo

Portraits of Congo

Two amazing smiles.

Both children live in Boyabu refugee camp, near the town of Libenge in Sud-Ubangi District in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were thousands found refuge after fleeing the violence in Central African Republic.

These smiling faces can only make you think how little it takes to make them happy and the huge contrast between their world and ours. We could do so much more to help and yet we choose to remain ignorant.

Portraits of Congo

Portraits of Congo

Portraits of Congo

These are two of my favorite images I was lucky enough to capture on a trip to DR Congo earlier this year. On the first one, while listening to heartbreaking stories from refugees that fled the violence in Central African Republic and learning from my good friend and writer Azad Essa on how an interview should be conducted (honored to have had the chance to tag along with him), this kid was staring at me through a poorly built fence. I recognized his face as he was curiously following us for couple of hours or so.

The second image was shot in the same location, a small street in a town called Zongo located in Sud-Ubangi District in Équateur Province in the northwestern part of the DR Congo. I stepped away to enjoy a much needed smoke and a short break from the sadness of the stories heard through the day, and this child was just laying there on the tree trunk. He made eye contact with me but didn’t move a muscle – he just sat there. I still wonder what he was thinking about.

Portraits of Congo

Museum of Islamic Art

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei, the Museum is comprised of a main building with an adjacent education wing connected by a large central courtyard. The main building rises five-storeys, topped by a high domed atrium within a central tower.

The cream-coloured limestone captures the changes in light and shade during the day.

The interior is no less spectacular. The centrepiece of the atrium is a curved double staircase leading up to the first floor. Above it floats an ornate circular metal chandelier echoing the curve of the staircase.

An oculus, at the top of the atrium, captures and reflects patterned light within the faceted dome. The five-storey 45-metre tall window on the north side gives spectacular panoramic views across the bay.

The geometric patterns of the Islamic world adorn the spaces, including the ceilings of the elevators. A variety of textures and materials from wood and stone has created a unique environment for the museum’s stunning collections.

- Museum of Islamic art , Doha, Qatar-

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar.

Silence

“When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, exactly like water. Its color is silver. And silence has a sound you hear only after hours of wading inside it. The sound is soft, like flute notes rising up, like the words of glass speaking. Then there comes a point when you must shatter the blindness of its words, the blindness of its light.”  ― Anne Spollen

“When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, exactly like water. Its color is silver. And silence has a sound you hear only after hours of wading inside it. The sound is soft, like flute notes rising up, like the words of glass speaking. Then there comes a point when you must shatter the blindness of its words, the blindness of its light.”
― Anne Spollen

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”  ― Norton Juster

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”
― Norton Juster

“You can listen to silence, Reuven. I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. And I can hear it. ... You have to want to listen to it, and then you can hear it. It has a strange, beautiful texture. It doesn't always talk. Sometimes - sometimes it cries, and you can hear the pain of the world in it. It hurts to listen to it then. But you have to.”  ― Chaim Potok

“You can listen to silence, Reuven. I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. And I can hear it.

You have to want to listen to it, and then you can hear it. It has a strange, beautiful texture. It doesn’t always talk. Sometimes – sometimes it cries, and you can hear the pain of the world in it. It hurts to listen to it then. But you have to.”
― Chaim Potok

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