The Acquaintance: Esther Mbabazi’s Photo Essay of Birth in Rural Uganda

The Acquaintance is a photo-documentary of the life of Masa, an 81-year old Traditional Birth Assistant (TBA) in Uganda. It also looks at the changes that have happened in the East African nation since it outlawed the use of TBAs for expectant mothers in 2010.

“The Acquaintance” centers around photojournalist Esther Mbabazi’s chronicles in Bududa on the slopes of Mountain Elgon. Bududa has a hilly landscape that presents geographical challenges. Naturally, this complicates movement, especially for pregnant mothers. Walking long distances up and down hills to get to the hospital can prove to be a challenge–so pregnant women often opt for working with TBAs instead. As a documentary photographer, Esther uses storytelling and photojournalism to address issues in her society. Coming from a humble background, her work explores changing conditions on the African continent, with a focus on the social, economic, physical and emotional aspects of daily life, especially in rural areas and minority groups. Esther is driven to bring to light issues in society that are too often overlooked.

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