Geaux Love Africa: LA natives give Africans a gift worth a thous - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Geaux Love Africa: LA natives give Africans a gift worth a thousand words

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

It was supposed to be a small project, capturing a moment that people thousands of miles away can keep forever. What it's turned into, is a mission trip that many want to be part of. Next month, a man from Baton Rouge and a man from Port Allen plan to take their love of photography across the globe. It's a mission they call Geaux Love Africa.

Nathan Dewberry and Aaron Williams don't have all their equipment yet.

"We might have an extra day, maybe. We leave on the 24th," said Dewberry to Williams, Thursday as they talked about the details of their trip. "Going to Nacona, which is 20 kilometers outside...it's pretty small. I can't even find it on the map."

For 10 days, in September, the two will be travelling to Uganda, Africa.

"This'll be my first trip overseas anywhere," Williams said. "I'm really excited to go."

For Dewberry, this will be his second trip to Africa. Last year, he was part of a mission trip to Zimbabwe to do construction on a hospital. While there, in the evenings, he walked around with his camera and took pictures of people.

"All they wanted was to look at the back of my camera and see themselves," Dewberry said.

Many there do not have pictures of themselves.

"I had one person ask for the SIM card. I had to explain, if I gave you the SIM card, then I wouldn't be able to take anymore pictures."

It was that trip that inspired him to start Geaux Love Africa, a project that will take him back to Africa to take pictures of people in remote villages. Those pictures will be printed soon after they are snapped and given to each person for free.

A mutual friend told Williams about the project. He and Dewberry met and agreed to travel together to make the dream a reality.

"We have lots of pictures on Facebook," Dewberry explained. "I have thousands of my family and friends. These people, they don't have any."

Dewberry says on the back of each picture will be the gospel, in the language of each village they visit as well as a way for them to reach the church in their area.

To do the work, they're asking people to sponsor pictures. Each one costs $15. They're hoping to raise enough money to fund 650 pictures. Right now, they are halfway to their goal.

When they return, each person who sponsored a picture will get a copy of the person's picture they paid for.

"And we're even going to ask them what is something you'd like to say to the people in our village. In West Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, in America," Williams said.

For both, this is a way to combine their love of photography and the church. Dewberry says after his last trip he felt a connection to the people in the pictures he'd captured. So much so, he wants to visit 20 times in the next 20 years.

"It's really ambitious so I'm not sure it'll actually happen. But I like to set goals."

The old saying - 'A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words', is true for Dewberry. He's one who doesn't like being on the opposite side of the camera, so he lets his work speak for itself.

It's what Dewberry captured on his camera that Williams is ready to experience in person.

"I hope I come back a changed person, but also I hope what we go and do helps change those people in some way or another," said Williams.

Dewberry says he's already been contacted by other photographers wanting to make the same trip next year.

If you would like to learn more about the project or sponsor a picture, go to http://www.geauxloveafrica.com/.

Saturday, August 2, there is a Crossfit challenge on the levee in West Baton Rouge Parish, at the Old Ferry Landing from 8:00 a.m. to noon. The cost is $20, the money will go to benefit the Geaux Love Africa project.

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