You never forget your first National Geographic moment.

You never forget your first National Geographic moment. Mine was in 2007… Rwanda. I was interning for Food for the Hungry (FH) as student photojournalist. A kid with a camera and sense of adventure – I knew nothing about poverty, FH or Africa. And there I was, in the middle of a war torn country, hearing stories of genocide and reconciliation daily.

Hot, sweaty skin attracting red dirt… a spray tan without the salon. Tiny 12-seater vans packed with 15 or more people – public transportation at its best. Every trip into town was an adventure full of memorable characters.

Driving down washed-out roads, an FH staff member, a translator, and myself bumped against the walls of the truck, each other, and occasionally the windows. After two hours, we arrived at a school in a community where FH had partnered with the government to help fund some of the buildings and provide some school supplies.
As we arrived, I saw a large group of blue uniformed children sitting beneath a tree. The sort of tree you think only exists in movies like the movie, Lion King. Perfectly posed, the children sat waiting. The translator informed me that the children were on holiday from school but had returned once they heard FH staff were coming to visit. After meeting with various officials and teachers, we finally got back to the children. Then… National Geographic… in polka dot skirts the girls began to dance to the beats of water bottle drums.

That was not the last, “Thank you, FH,” dance I saw in my three months in east Africa with FH, but it was certainly the most impressionable. I remember wondering what it was that FH was doing to make such an impression on these children and their communities. Thinking back to my own grade school days… there are few visitors that would have inspired me to return to school on a day off.

What’s your National Geographic moment? 

About Charith Norvelle

I’m the girl that laughs at the “writers” who sit behind their Macs at a pretentious coffee shop trying to find inspiration... and then I laugh harder because I’m one of them. A coffee obsessed photographer, in love with God, people, and travel... but where I’m from, thats not original at all. Planted in Portland, Oregon growing in Phoenix, Arizona. I joined Food for the Hungry in 2008 because I love people. Photographing them, learning and sharing their stories and helping you to touch, taste, and smell their world... don’t worry... the smell's not that bad.

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