Thousands of kilometres of the purest in this world: By Cristóbal Masera Möller

It is pretty hard to revive an adventure in words, so many situations and emotions. These photographs are a short summary of my last trip to Africa wherein less than 3 months we crossed part of southern and east Africa. It was my third time on the continent and it felt more special than the others, especially because my grandmother passed away just before I left. She was a wonderful woman that always encourage me, my brothers and cousins, to be ourselves, be unique in everything we do and to keep the unity of the family. For me, Africa is the continent of the sun. Mostly every day I saw the sunrise, felt the hard sun and the goodbye sunsets. Africa is about the people, so many people, everywhere you look there is a person walking or on a bicycle, even in the farthest places, up in the mountains, the deep jungle, the desert and in small towns. Everybody is doing something, for work, chatting, to visit a friend or just playing around. I loved looking at the children, when they walk to school singing in their colourful uniforms or the amazing mothers carrying their babies on the back, with their femininity almost perfect.

On the road sometimes you lose track of time, your thoughts flow limitless while landscapes changes and kilometres feel like meters. At first, you start going deep inside yourself, thinking about life and how your decisions took you to that precise moment. Suddenly, from one instant to another, you come back to the present, to this new environment you are living. I realized in Africa that there are so many countries that you didn´t even think about its existence, but they have so much to offer. I Perceived how every time you cross a frontier the cultural influences change completely, the physical physiognomy, the cloth and even the haircuts are different. After my trip, there are memorable experiences that stuck with me. On the train from Lusaka (Zambia) to Tunduma (Tanzania), while we stop in the middle of nowhere, a little boy approached my window with mango while I played the harmonica. He jumped and gave me one, it was the sweetest and softest mango I have ever tasted. I was so grateful that I wanted to give him something back, but the train started moving, so my immediate reaction was to throw him my harmonica, at first, he didn’t understand, but a few seconds later he started tuning some notes.

Another anecdote was near the Tanganyika Lake in Kasanga. We were the mzungus (white man in Swahili) waiting for the famous MV Liemba, a ship built during the World War I (called Götzen at the time), that after it was salvaged by the British from the bottom of the lake it returns to service for ferry purposes in 1927. One day I was walking around with my camera and a girl approach, she asked me if I could take a picture of her, I said, -of course I´ll be glad-. After I developed the negative and made a copy of it, I realize that in the clouds behind her it was written “Siu”, that means “Smile” in Swahili.

Nature and animals are part of the everyday life. In the Victoria Falls on the Zambian border, after we were immersed in this magnificent manifestation of nature, we decided to go for a walk downhill to reach the river. After one hour, we were still going down into a dense jungle inhabited by a lot of baboons. I walked behind an old big baboon mistakenly and he turned around, grabs my arm, put his sharp teeth in front of my face and started screaming. As a consequence, for the next 10 minutes, all the baboons started threatening and moving around us. At first, I thought we wil l be attacked, but luckily, we started walking back from where we cameuntil they calmed down. Africa changed my perceptions of life. Thousands of kilometres of the purest in this world. Everywhere you go in Africa there is a pair of eyes full of innocence and joyfulness, but strong and impenetrable.

Cristóbal Masera Möller is a Chilean Photographer focused on everyday life in Black and White. For this Journal Project, the equipment used was: Fuji Gs645s, medium format camera. Ilford FP4, 120mm film. To see and interact with more of his work please visit his Website and follow his Instagram page.

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