Monday, March 30, 2009

Atieno Kombe - Africa Mama

Yesterday I had a beautiful afternoon at Atieno Kombe's store Africa Mama in Bothell. She had invited to a Customer Appreciation Party with live music by Guillaume Mpacko . Great music and a wonderful atmospere! Lot's of fun dancing. (Some images of the party will come in a few days).

Atieno Kombe is the first woman I photographed for SeattleWoman Magazine four years ago.
She left a deep impression in me when I met her the first time, as I am sure she leaves with everybody who meets her.  There is a light around her, a beauty that comes deep  from inside. You can feel her strong presence watching her interacting with the people around her. Graceful, full of attention for the other person and full of joy. 

Here you can see her with her stepson.
Atieno grew up in Kenya. She devoted herself to work for the children who are left behind as orphans from the aids epidemic. She is the president of "Urgent Africa", a non governmental organization "committed to creating programs that build sustainable solutions for communities that have been gravely affected by aids."
I feel there is much to learn from her. Faced with the pain of the on-going nightmare of aids in Sub-Saharan Africa and the 16 million orphans "sadness and mourning is a normal part of each day", as she says.  But you don't see any anger, blame or cynicism consuming her. She uses her sadness as strength to help children to live.

Atieno is closing her store Africa Mama in Bothell on this Tuesday. There is still a chance to visit. 

SISTERS & GIRLFRIENDS - Elena and Chiara

Today is International Women's Day. I am thinking of how important women's friendships are with their girlfriends and their sisters....