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"...a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:12

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Guidelines for Photography and Videotaping

It is advisable to appoint one individual on the team to take photos and one to take video, which can be shared later with the entire team. It is much more culturally sensitive than having the entire team focused on taking pictures, each with his or her own equipment. It also frees team-members to enjoy the experience, without the pressure of capturing it all on film.

Always ask permission before taking photos or video of local people, especially people whom you have not met; some individuals may ask for money in exchange for agreeing to let you take a photo. Be sensitive. Respecting and preserving people’s dignity is more important than any photo.

Film, batteries and any extra photographic equipment are very difficult to obtain and are extremely expensive in Malawi. Consider taking along a number of good quality disposable cameras. You can then take photos in a less ostentatious manner, and you can leave several behind as gifts for your hosts.

Guidelines for Sharing Your Home Photos

Taking a pocket-sized photo album with you is a great way to begin a relational discussion with people that you meet on your mission trip. It’s a no-pressure way to “break-the-ice” as you get to know your hosts, and it also makes a very nice gift for your host family or other special people that you meet. Gear your album towards sharing what your life is like as a Christian in the United States.

DO Include:

  • photos of people who are important to you; your family, close friends, church groups, Sunday School class, small group Bible study, Youth Group, etc.
  • Include only photos that have a “neutral” background (snow, trees, public park, blank wall, etc.) rather than one taken in an atmosphere that would accentuate material differences in our cultures.
  • Include appropriate photos of celebrations and church activities, including wedding ceremonies, baptisms, Easter sunrise service, confirmation, graduations, etc.
  • Malawians are very interested in what grows here, the types of animals we have, the landscape, seasonal changes, snow, autumn leaves, etc. Photos of farms, local flora, fauna, landscapes and snow yield much animated discussion.

DO NOT Include:

  • Photos with your house, car, boat, or other evidence of material wealth.
  • Photos of celebrations that may include drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking or social dancing, all of which may be offensive to conservative Christian hosts.
  • Photos of anyone who is inappropriately dressed by Malawian standards.
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