Fixers should be praised again and again and again- and today I want to praise Seme.
Originally from South Sudan, Seme fled home a few years ago when violence broke out again and forced millions of people to leave their homes. He is currently living in Palorynia refugee settlement in northern Uganda, but came down to Gulu for the IWMF Great Lakes reporting trip.
I was incredibly fortunate to spend a few days with him- as he showed me not only his talent as a fixer and his eye as a journalist, but his compassion as a human and his kindness. His amazing story goes way back, but it was during an intense few days of tragic burials and funerals that I got to witness what a wonderful person he is. Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to access as much as I did.
He has a gentle way of talking to people, who immediately warm up to him and are encouraged to share their stories. He feels what others are feeling: during a very long four hours photographing a very difficult scene, I was at breaking point, unaware that Seme was outside looking out for me. He came over, gently patted me on the shoulder, and told me to take a break and walk around with him. Perhaps this doesn’t sound out of the ordinary to people- but to me, at that point, it was exactly what I (had no idea!) needed.
His enthusiasm is contagious, and brings a smile to anyone around him- but it is his thoughtfulness that stuck with me. Although he’s at marrying age in his culture, he is waiting to find a proper job and will then look for a wife, so that he can provide for his family from the beginning.
I have no doubt this will happen, and I’m genuinely excited to see what the future brings for him. IWMF couldn’t have picked a better person- and a million thank yous for introducing us to him.
So, fixers should be praised.. and this one is for Seme.