Phodographer Samantha Coffin in Jungle Junction, Zambia May 2010
Samantha recounts: I can’t believe it feels like just yesterday I was backpacking through Zambia, a small butterfly shaped country in Africa. Zambia was full of life, spirit and love yet on every street corner in the city of Livingstone stores were closed and poverty was everywhere. I then left the city to go to Jungle Junction, with backpackers on an island in the middle of the Zambezi river. The island was far from the city and deep down dirt roads. Immediately I was greeted by the families living on the edge of the river. Each day we were canoed back to the main land and learned from the community. After a few days of cultural orientation I decided to introduce Dog Meets World to all my new friends. They first prepared a huge traditional meal of pumpkin leaves, okra and several other dishes. I then showed the adults what I was going to do and quickly the news spread throughout the community. They were the most quiet, gentle and most appreciative people I had ever met throughout my entire abroad experience.
Now that I am back in Massachusetts, wrapping up my senior year of college, I still keep in touch with the woman that runs the backpackers group, Evelyn Roe. She is helping the community build a school so the children can actually attend grammar school instead of walking many miles or never attending any proper school. I only saw as concrete blocks.
Dog Meets World is more than taking a picture and handing it to a child. It is about building international relationships, becoming part of communities and becoming a part of a new family. I will always be welcome as a member of the Jungle Junction family.
Take a picture, hand it over with a smile and a hug and spread the love!
One Child, One Foto
By Samantha Coffin for Dog Meets World
Dog Meets World is a photo diplomacy project where photographers traveling the world bring a camera, portable photo printer and the stuffed animal dog named Foto. Once abroad the photographers begin taking pictures of the children with Foto, printing them and handing them to the children. The photo is theirs to keep.
Becoming a Dog Meets World phoDOGrapher only made sense to me for who I am and what I believe in. I was on my way to study abroad in Africa when Carolyn Lane, founder of Dog Meets World, placed Foto and a Canon Portable Printer in my hands. I knew then that my experience abroad would be more than I could ever have wished for.
After spending six months in South Africa practicing Dog Meets World, I then traveled to Zambia and continued spreading the love of gifting a child with a photo. The children of Zambia are full of a different spirit and love than any other children I had met before. These children did not expect anything from me other than my temporary presence. When I took the camera out, they were still not expecting anything. They lined up in a single file line and came up one at a time for the photo. Once I began the printing process, the children were amazed. I then handed them something they had never seen before, a photo of themselves. My photographs capture a child’s emotions at the site of their first personal photograph.
Photographer (phoDOGrapher): Samantha Coffin
Photographer Website: http://www.samanthasjourney.tumblr.com
Award Year: 2010
Non Profit: Dog Meets World
Non Profit Website: dogmeetsworld.org
Location: Zambia, Africa
Phodographer Samm Coffin near Livingston, Zambia May 2010
Cowboy Clif was absolutely thrilled when Samm Coffin and friends arrived with the Dog Meets World project to Take & Give first photos to his students!
Phodographer Samantha Coffin near Livingston, Zambia, May 2010
Samm finished her semester in South Africa and took Dog Meets World on her travels. She asked backpackers which kids in the area would appreciate photos the most and was told the pre-school would be amazing. So a man called Cowboy Clif rode his bike to pick her up to bring to his pre-school that he runs with the funds from his bicycle tours around Livingston, Zambia. Samm said “They were the most well behaved pre-schoolers and they were so fascinated. When the printer died, some kids broke out in hysterical tears until I told them that I was going right back to the backpackers to charge the printer and continue printing.”
Try to imagine this boy’s thoughts as he studies his first ever picture of himself. What an affirmation.
Best Foto of the Week!
Praise for DMW
"Participating in Dog Meets World was a truly magical experience, bringing joy and wonderment to all I met."
John Carr, Phodographer across South America
"Dog Meets World unleashes the power of photography as a diplomatic and personal tool in building connections among the people of the world. It embeds a memory in photographer and subject alike."
Prof. Patrick Fleming, Fulbright scholar & Phodographer Cambodia & Kyrgzystan
"You will never know just how important that photo will be long after it is taken and given."
Delores Barr Weaver, co-owner Jacksonville Jaguars
"Dog Meets World went over fabulously in my village. It is a perfect option for Peace Corps volunteers like myself. I like the Foto dog mascot, kids like it, and it is a representation of the peace and the ideas of the project."
Kristen Woodruff, Phodographer Costa Rica
"The kids are absolutely loving Dog Meets World. For a majority, these were the first images of themselves that they have ever owned."
Marti Johnson, Phodographer Uganda