Neil Shea

writer

Letter from Kakuma


This story from the Kakuma Refugee Camp, out now in The American Scholar, began as a post on Instagram. It’s an experiment in seeing how small stories can grow into larger ones, and move across media. The Scholar is also running a series of portraits I made during my time there, including one of these sisters, whose story is up on my Instagram feed.

Telling stories is about gathering fragments of truth and sharing as many as you can. I hope this work will help erase distance, reveal struggles, and frame beauty in the lives of the people I met in Kenya’s northern desert. I’ve been searching for new ways to think about what photographer Donald Weber recently called “the periphery,” and this collaboration is an experiment in trying to get there—to reach further, and show more, from the edges.