It’s not the waiting that is destroying Hafiz Abdalla, although existing in the strange limbo between asylum seeker and German resident is constantly disorienting. It is how no one seems aware of the violence in Sudan, the lack of news coverage of the war, and his inability to communicate in German. It’s a collection of things that gain weight the way an object seems to when sinking.
Caitlin L. Chandler and I recently spent some time in Hannover, Germany, at a protest camp created by Sudanese refugees. While the organizers don’t live at the camp, sometimes refugees without a place to go stay over night. Sitting under one of the tattered tents and listening to their stories, I’m transported to Sudan. I think to myself, these individuals have come so far and given so much to end up in a place that feels a lot like what they were trying to leave. Caitlin’s article in Vice offers a story that I think is too absent in the media.
Hafiz Abdalla is a political activist in Hannover, Germany, where he is one of several organizers of a camp to protest the treatment of Sudanese refugees and question Germany’s diplomacy towards the Sudanese government.
Ali Ahmed from South Kordofan, Sudan, left the country in 2005. Ahmed received asylum in Italy but left because he was unable to make a living. He's been deported once from Germany. Back in Italy, he slept in a car for two weeks and then returned to Germany.
Khadija Noor from Northern Darfur lives on the outskirts of Hannover with her three children.
Hafiz Abdalla filed for asylum in June 2014, well before the current crisis; he has yet to receive an answer.
Inside the communal kitchen at the protest camp started in May 2014 in Hannover, Germany.
Inside a tent at the protest camp started in May 2014 in Hannover, Germany.
Mohammed Said Mustafa, 36, from North Kortum, Darfur, came to live in Germany after four years in Belgium where he says his claim for asylum was denied.
Several Sudanese men gather to talk about their current immigration situation at the camp.
Mohammed Said Mustafa says his application for asylum was denied in Belgium and strangers helped him arrive to Germany where he now lives in a home for the blind among mostly Germans.
Hafiz Abdalla cooks lunch at his apartment in Hannover, Germany. Abdalla lives in a small apartment he shares with four other men and receives 360 euros ($400) a month from the government, 150 of which he sends to family in Sudan.
An advent calendar filled with chocolates, some eaten out of order, sits on the counter in Hafiz Abdalla's apartment.
Back in August I spent a few days in Tirana, Albania, photographing a travel story for the New York Times. Here are a few of the pictures that didn’t make it into the print edition. During the trip I met some of the most down-to-earth and inspiring people I’ve met in a while – cafe owners, winemakers and cooks. Thanks for making my visit so enjoyable.
People pass by the Pyramid in Tirana, Albania. The Pyramid was opened as a museum to commemorate the late ruler Hoxha. After the collapse of communism it served as a conference center and even became a NATO office during the conflict with Kosovo.
The Komiteti Cafe and Museum in Tirana, Albania, was started by Arber Cepani and features relics from Albania's past, like these wall hangings that Cepani says are found in every home in Albania. Cepani, the son of an Albanian diplomat who spent about 20 years living abroad, says he believes it is important to know the history of your country and learn from it. For the younger generation, the cafe is a place to learn about the communist past. For the older generation Cepani says it is pure nostalgia.
Flori Uka is a winemaker that runs Uka Farm, his family's farm that produces fruits and vegetables for use in their restaurant just outside of Tirana, Albania.
Radio Bar in Tirana, Albania, is known for its cocktails and good music. The bar often hosts live musicians and DJs.
Arios Banushi, 10, (left) and his younger brother Albi Banushi, 5, ride the Dajti Express in Tirana, Albania, up the side of Mount Dajti. The Banushis are from Tirana and were visiting the cable car with their grandparents. The journey takes 15 minutes and is the longest cableway in the Balkans.
View of Tirana, Albania, looking toward Rinia Park and Skanderberg Square from Sky Tower.
Barista Iris Ibro works at Komiteti Cafe and Museum in Tirana, Albania. The cafe was started by Arber Cepani and features relics from Albania's past.
Hyrie Hoxha plants green beans at Uka Farm in Tirana, Albania. The farm produces vegetables and fruits that are used in the farm's restaurant. Flori Uka, who runs the family farm, also makes biodynamic wines that are served at the restaurant.
The mosaic on the front of the National Historical Museum in Tirana, Albania, depicts a tribute to Albanian history from the Illyrians to World War II partisans.
Uka Farm in Tirana, Albania
Customers pick a spot to eat dinner while looking out at the vineyard at Uka Farm in Tirana, Albania.
Many apartment buildings throughout Tirana, Albania, are painted in bright colors after Edi Rama (former mayor of Tirana and now primer minister of Albania) led an initiative to brighten post-communist Albania. This building is in the Xhamlliku neighborhood.
Alma Verushi (left) and Laureta Verushi run Taverna e Kasap Beut in Tirana, Albania. One of their specialities is burek, a flaky pastry that can be filled with cheese, vegetables or meat.
Many government ministry buildings along Skanderbeg Square were designed by fascist-era Italian architects in the 1920s in Tirana, Albania.
Radio Bar in Tirana, Albania, is known for its cocktails and good music.
Oscar and I just returned from three weeks in Chile, my first time visiting our neighbor to the south. We started in Coyhaique and made our way north to Santiago. One night we stayed in Chaitén in northern Patagonia. About five years ago Chaitén Volcano erupted. Lahars followed the eruption, ruining homes and filling them with mud and ash. Some of the owners never returned and their houses sit vacant, slowly decomposing. Other residents, like Ismelda Villegas, returned, despite warnings that another eruption is likely.
Thinking about Trischa and Chris this week. About one year ago I witnessed their beautiful union on a sunny Missouri afternoon. Congratulations on your first year of marriage!
Back in April I headed high into the Andes near Cerro de Pasco to photograph for Hino’s corporate publication. The trip required long days in the car and thin air. Before being granted access to the mine and allowed to shoot, doctors on site ran tests to make sure my brain was getting enough oxygen. Luckily I passed and Mother Nature gave me a beautiful blue sky, sunshine and cotton-like clouds. I traveled and worked alongside two other women, both visiting from Hino’s headquarters in Japan. The miners sure thought we were a motley crew! Some of the images I made were published this month.
I recently spent a few days working in Flor de Primavera, a town near Moyobamba, Perú that has about 500 inhabitants. I took a quick break from shooting video when these three girls asked me to make their portrait on their way to school. They were lovely and as silly in real life as they are serious in this photo.
Four entrepreneurs from a list of Peru’s “Great Places to Work 2011” see great opportunities in Peru for 2012. (So do I!) Oscar and I photographed them for Somos magazine last month.
Juan Stoessel from Casa Andina | Abraham Zavala from Corporación Radial del Perú
Jaime García from IBM | Javier Calvo Perez Badiola from J&V Resguardo
Ale Molina co-directs a group called Mafia Stiletto in Lima. In addition to teaching Sexy Stiletto classes, the group of professional dancers perform around the metro area. After photographing the class I met the group for a photo shoot at one of the gyms they rehearse in. Talk about different lighting than the first shoot! Same topic, a little more make up, mostly the same girls, a different location, one flash and the product is so very different. I thought it would be interesting to share both shoots. There is certainly more than one way to skin a cat!
She’s young. She’s beautiful. And she most likely drives her car much faster than you. I had the opportunity to photograph Yazmín Dyer in her Chorillos shop in November. She’s one of only five women who have competed in Peru’s Caminos del Inca race – founded by Henry Bradley who I photographed back in June. I enjoyed her energy, willingness to smile and her patience during our shoot and hope to see her do well in future races.
Published December 15 in Ruedas y Tuercas
While I take a lot of portraits, some are definitely more interesting than others. As a photographer I sometimes get little gifts, like beautiful rays of natural light, a really great location or a few extra minutes to spend with a subject. After shooting dozens of executives in their offices, I rejoiced at the chance to photograph Humberto Martinez at a construction site. A few weeks later I was photographing Laura Fantozzi on a rooftop, working with two lights to overpower the harsh sun. When we went inside after the shoot I noticed the late afternoon sun coming in the window. Instead of overpowering it this time, I forgot about my lights and used it. In the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving today. This year I’m thankful for those little gifts.
Laura Fantozzi of Kusimayo shot for HOLA Perú
Humberto Martinez of Marcan shot for G de Gestión