In the same way that a blind person’s sense of hearings is often greatly enhanced, so with Ketty her sense of ‘seeing things’ is much more acute than the average person. The first time we met, we went for a walk through the garden and orchard of the NGO. I loved that everything, we had to stop for a look; an insect, a leaf, or just a pattern of shadows. I’ve seen this with good photography also… the photo just reproduces ‘what’s there’ but actually a great photo makes you see what’s there either in more detail, or differently, or causes you to process the information differently.
Whether Ketty will choose to become an artist is only written in the future. Pointless to speculate. Alice is keen and helps her daughter to draw and paint as much as she’s able, and I have sent her practical, and inspirational, stuff. What more can you do. Even for normal hearing kids the prospects in Eastern province are limited. For girls? Have children, work in the fields. This is a tribal and very traditional culture. But I suspect that Ketty needs something to enable her to shine, to express herself.
At my leaving party, so much was going on. Noise (which obviously Ketty could not hear), people dancing, walking about. That was my last night before returning to England. Suddenly, a tugging at my sleeve until I saw it. A single firefly painting tracks against the night sky darkness. We watched it until it came over and stopped on the table right in front of us, as if to say, ‘ah, you appreciate my beauty, have a closer look’.
Alice just sent me some pictures. There’s one active email account that they can go and use. Plus my friend Musa has WhatsApp that we use for day to day communication. We get so used to having our laptops, desktops, smartphones. Lots of people in Eastern province have mobiles of course, rarely a smartphone. But every other small business is a roadside place selling airtime. They get charged a fortune by the network providers for pay as you go. But then I suppose, so do we!
So Ketty is drawing, from a very good ‘how to draw’ book, and also painting using water paints that we got from a Chipata supermarket for Ketty and Musa’s young daughter Martha. She hasn’t started using the acrylics I sent yet, I leave that to Alice’s judgement as to when she’s old enough.