There have been so many portraits that I have really enjoyed shooting, but this one of dear Eshetu was probably one of my favourites.
First meeting him in 2012, after I had just come back from the Cycle to Rwanda adventure.
The day I took the portrait, we sat, in his apartment, sipping Ethiopian coffee and enjoy sweet potato, while the rain lashed it down. a fabulous morning with a real gentleman.
Dr. Eshetu Wondimagegne NACA Projects Coordinator
“At 18 I studied away from home at a technical college in Ethiopia, I was hesitating at the time, whether I should work to support my family or continue to a degree.
I was advised to continue education and completed the first degree in the mid 1970’s. After working on government farms and becoming supervisors and managers I Came to Norwich in 1989, Got an offer from British Council Technical support from Ethiopia, to study for my PHD.
My Supervisor moved to Norwich and I came, followed him to the city. I was here for around 3 years, it was planned to return to Ethiopia to carry out field research, but sadly it didn’t work out that way. There were big problems in my country around that time, with a change of government. So I remained here.
New people came to power and my programme was changed, completely finished. It was very dangerous. It was not safe for me or my family.
Thankfully, I was allowed to stay in the UK by the British Council, but I had to get a job, of course to support myself. So, the three-plan changed to five years, but I did complete my studies and got a degree in Vital bacteriology.
For nine years I was the chairman of Town & Gown in Norwich, it was a voluntary organisation to bring people together in Norwich. Overseas students with locals, it was fabulous. We had international food, music, dance, it was a great organisation to bring people together in the city. People of a displaced nature appreciated that greatly. We made friends for life.
From this experience I started the Norfolk African Community Association. We had founding members from Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia and one guy from Sudan. We started this organisation and it’s still going well to this day. We help people on allotments, educating and bringing people together.
Sadly, my children have never visited me in England. I tried to get them out of the country in the early days, spending a lot of money and time, but that failed, so now we only speak on the phone.”