2010.05.10: RPCVs Debra and Bob Hicks, who operate the nonprofit Botswana Orphan Program, have organized the monthlong photo show and a one-night dance benefit

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Botswana: Peace Corps Botswana : Peace Corps Botswana: Newest Stories: 2010.05.10: RPCVs Debra and Bob Hicks, who operate the nonprofit Botswana Orphan Program, have organized the monthlong photo show and a one-night dance benefit

By Admin1 (admin) (98.188.147.225) on Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 11:06 pm: Edit Post

RPCVs Debra and Bob Hicks, who operate the nonprofit Botswana Orphan Program, have organized the monthlong photo show and a one-night dance benefit

RPCVs Debra and Bob Hicks, who operate the nonprofit Botswana Orphan Program, have organized the monthlong photo show and a one-night dance benefit

"My focus was on orphan care. AIDS hit Botswana hard beginning in the late 1990s and there are now 160,000 orphan children, which is about 10 percent of the entire country's population in a largely desert nation about the size of Texas. Botswana is the first nation in Africa to provide free medication to help deal with AIDS. Our board of directors chose the 16 photos for display and sale from among hundreds the children took. Multiple framed copies of each of the photos will be on sale. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the orphan center."

RPCVs Debra and Bob Hicks, who operate the nonprofit Botswana Orphan Program, have organized the monthlong photo show and a one-night dance benefit

Bellingham dance show, photo sale to benefit orphans in Botswana

MICHELLE NOLAN - FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

How would an orphan child in Africa approach photography if given his or her first camera? Some of the touching answers might surprise you during a fundraising exhibit and sale of photos from orphans in Botswana through May at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, in Fairhaven.

Bellingham residents Debra and Bob Hicks, who operate the nonprofit Botswana Orphan Program, have organized the monthlong photo show and a one-night dance benefit Saturday, May 15.

Debra, 39, is a counselor at Sedro-Woolley High School. Bob, 49, works in community services for Skagit County.
BOB HICKS

Question: How did you become involved with orphans in Botswana?

Debra: Bob and I joined the Peace Corps in 2004 as a couple because we wanted to do something good for the world and learn to live in a different culture and environment.

Q: What was your focus?

Debra: My focus was on orphan care. AIDS hit Botswana hard beginning in the late 1990s and there are now 160,000 orphan children, which is about 10 percent of the entire country's population in a largely desert nation about the size of Texas. Botswana is the first nation in Africa to provide free medication to help deal with AIDS.

Bob: Part of my focus was facilitating educational aspects of preventing mother-to-child transmission of AIDS. We worked in the village of Mmankgodi at Reneetswe Orphan Centre, which now cares for 160 children each week.

Q: How did your photography project get going?

Debra: When we returned to Botswana in 2007, we started the "Through Our Eyes Photo Project." Many of the children of Reneetswe received disposable cameras from us and we requested them to photograph their lives.

The next year, we received help from a Cincinnati photographer, Andy Eckersley, who found us on the Internet. He taught the orphans photography. Meanwhile, one of our students then at Sedro-Woolley, Tori Murrell, was inspired to collect a lot of cameras and shipped them to the orphan center.

Q: Are all of the photos as touching as the ones you're showing me?

Debra: They're absolutely wonderful, taken by orphans 6 to 15 years old. They actually made me feel homesick for Botswana, because we came to love the people so much.

Our board of directors chose the 16 photos for display and sale from among hundreds the children took. Multiple framed copies of each of the photos will be on sale. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the orphan center.

Q: What will the dance program be like?

Debra: Susan Haines, who is on our board of directors, will direct guest artists from Western Washington University's faculty and dance students, and the Bellingham Repertory Dance Company will perform dance styles including classical, hip hop and contemporary.

BOTSWANA BENEFIT

What: A photo show and sale through May featuring work by orphans in Botswana, and a dance program at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 15. The dance program features WWU faculty and students, and members of Bellingham Repertory Dance Company.

Location: Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave.

Admission: Suggested donation for the dance program is $10.

Details: botswanaorphanprogram.com.

Michelle Nolan is a freelance writer.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: May, 2010; Peace Corps Botswana; Directory of Botswana RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Botswana RPCVs; Orphans; Fund Raising; Service; Photography; The Third Goal; State of Washington





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Story Source: Bellingham Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Botswana; Orphans; Fund Raising; Service; Photography; The Third Goal; Exhibitions

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