A SEMESTER IN AFRICA
words & photographs by Magdalena Kernan
I spent three months on Bioko Island, a small subset of land off the coast of Cameroon. So close that you can see the mountains of the inland in the distance through the clouds. Sometimes catch whales crossing between. The island itself belonging to the country of Equatorial Guinea, is largely trafficked by the oil industry. There are few other visitors for any other purposes.
It’s a weird place. One of the longest running dictatorships in Africa where photography is actually illegal. Citizens are deprived of education and healthcare, living on a few dollars a day.
I went to spend my last semester of college there for an internship, and ended up working for the United Nations Development Programme for the majority of my time there. Met wonderful people in the expat community. I was also welcome by locals, and experienced one of the most interesting times of my life exploring the place. Visited the illegal meat market (where they blow torch live animals like monkeys). I participated in drum circles on the beach. Adventured through the jungles led by locals, through unmarked paths therefore discovering unseen waterfalls and animal life.
Once, while camping, a nest of baby sea turtles hatched under my tent infesting all of my belongings. Looking back and telling the stories, it sounds a bit like a fictional adventure of exotic characters and jaw dropping stories that you would question the authenticity of my story telling.
These photos are my vehicle back in time to places I hope i don’t forget. Stories I hope to retell for years to come. By looking through them, you can almost imagine what it’s like there.
See RESiN’S photography interview Magdalena Kernan