Roel van den Broek

Photography & Illustration

The slogan of Our Lady's Hospital: "In Service of Love"

 

The reason I came to Zambia was to do a project evaluation for a Dutch charity foundation. After finishing the assignment I started traveling through Zambia.

While traveling I've been looking for a story, which involves people who are in a specific environment, doing a certain job or living in a certain way. Before I came to Zambia I had no profound idea what I would encounter but I was sure to find something that would catch my interest.

I was already very happy with meeting the football team and the pre-school where I had made a few photos, but I was convinced that there was more to dive into, so I started making contact with the local Mission Hospital. I already knew that I wanted to work with the staff and to get to know them.

 

Of course I knew that it's prohibited to take photo without asking permission from a higher power, which is the Archbishop himself. He gave his personal permission and was happy with the fact that I wanted to do something different.

Many photographers come to Africa to document the stereotype of African poverty and suffering. The people in Zambia know about this and are growing tired of western civilization almost craving for that African stereotype. I'm not ignorant the problems in Africa, but I've seen so much more than the images we all know in the western civilization.

 

This was also the case in the hospital.

I can't exactly describe what fascinates me about the hospital staff, but what I can say is that I saw a great deal of dedication to helping others. That amount of effort that is put into a greater cause is a rare thing in my opinion. It's very easy to take photos of patients, which in some cases have terrible conditions, but I find it unethical and I dare to say that it's cheap.

 

Walking around the hospital for several days, taking portraits in clear daylight in front of a white wall gave me the opportunity to really get to talk to the staff. I met proud security guards, cheerful sisters, dedicated doctors, kind-hearted nurses, bright pharmacists, frolicsome cooks, helpful groundskeepers and an incredibly dedicated surgical staff. I guess this project is dedicated to people with good intentions and to show the in my opinion underexposed beauty of the African people, working in a hospital.

 

 Project: Service of Love

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