UPDATE June 2013: I’m delighted to announce that a wonderful Dutch couple, Evert Molenaar and Romy Hijman have taken up the challenge and gone all the way to Kurland Village to build Johanna a brand new kitchen. This will no doubt enable Johanna to keep doing her fantastic work for the community. I am constantly humbled and amazed by the kindness of people from all around the world and the power of social media to inspire action and impact lives. See photos of the work at on their Kitchen for Kurland Facebook page.
Breads of Heaven, a light of Kurland Village
A big beaming smile greeted us when we first met Johanna Christian, she stood outside the car window when we were driving by with Emma, who had volunteered in Kurland Village last year.
“You have to come by later! It’s so good to see you again!” she enthused.
For some years now, Johanna has been running a soup kitchen from her house to offer some of the impoverished local children of Kurland Village what might be their only proper meal of the day. But more than that, her soup is her symbol of her love for her community and her willingness to take a step to reach out to them. Her kitchen is self funded and Johanna is hardly well to do, herself relying on the generosity of other people to make ends meet.
Her kitchen walls are a patchwork of salvaged plaster boards, with gaps in between, the cold wind never too far away. The wooden beam holding up the plaster boards was probably hastily put up and now leaning at an angle, threatening to buck under the weight.
As Johanna told us her heartbreaking story of making it through her trials and tribulations of a life unimaginably hard, we made a mental note never to complain about our comparatively insignificant First World problems, when she has overcome her great difficulties without compliant. She runs this soup kitchen as thanksgiving for having made it through her difficulties.
Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much great hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. ~ Mother Teresa
I left my job as an advertising Creative Director in August 2012 to travel Africa and South America for a year with my wife, documenting these beautiful places with my Fuji X-Pro1. View the rest of my RTW adventures on Handcarry Only and follow me on my journey by subscribing/following/bookmarking.