A well needed pause – Monday 26th
Today we had planned to meet up with the students from the university of Nairobi to discuss and reflect on the Stories from our Cities exhibition, but our meeting was cancelled at the last minute after news reaching us that the traffic would not enable us to reach the meeting point.
Instead, we took advantage of our day off to keep up to date with blogs, pack our things for the trip to Rongo and the Maasai Mara, and relax to recharge before the 2nd phase of our trip.
The longest journey yet – Tuesday 27th
We all woke up early on the Tuesday and did our last minute packing and arrangements before heading off to Rongo. We were scheduled to leave at 10am, which turned out to be 11:20am as expected from Kenyan punctuality. Our first stop for a break was at the Rift Valley – a valley which starts from the northern part of Africa down into Kenya and Tanzania. Even though we got hassled by touristy shopkeepers, the stop was worth it as the view was one of a kind.
Our next stop was in Narok where we had lunch. We finally arrived at Rongo University College at 8:30pm, making it a total of 9 hours travelling.
Rongo University round 1 – Wednesday 28th
On Wednesday we headed down to Rongo University at 9am, and after having breakfast we got introduced to the people we were going to be working with. We had a brief meeting with the university head, which we presented and donated the Raspberry Pi’s, followed by a short tour of the university campus and establishments, and finally met the group of students which would be working with us in the Audio Workshop group.
Following a similar technique from when we were at Kenyatta university, we sat down and briefly introduced ourselves and discussed what the workshop aims and objectives where, and when we had a clear understanding we proceeded to plan out our pre-production, such as ideas on who to interview, what questions to ask, how to follow up on questions etc.
We spent the rest of the day learning how to use the Zoom microphone by performing various experiments while getting familiar with the Audacity editing software. I made sure that the students would get the hands on the Zoom as much as possible so they could get familiar with it and learn its functions, as they would be using the equipment in the following days when recording interviews and editing material. The day ended with dinner at the university and finally us heading back to our accommodation.
Rongo University round 2Thursday 29th
Our 2nd day at the university included us going out recording interviews and preparing material that we would use to structure our audio podcast, following our plan we had made the day before. We went to a school a short walk away from the university which both students and teachers belonged to the Luo tribe, and the curriculum revolved around Luo upbringing and customs. We were interested in interview some teachers about what some of the Luo traditions and customs are, and to what extent they are still practiced to this day.
We were welcomed by a few dances by the school students – the first dance was a traditional Swahili dance performed by the girls, followed by a traditional Luo dance performed by the boys. I captured the songs from the dance on my Zoom microphone, to use as a potential background effect or introduction to our podcast, which would add an effective ambience to it.
We then interviewed a couple of teachers from the school, discussing the Luo tribe as well as how they aim to educate children on Luo culture and traditions and what challenges they might come across.
The material we gathered provided us with useful information to go back to at the university, as we had the opportunity to listen back to the recordings and decide what would fit best in our podcast in order to effectively inform potential listeners of the podcast. By the end of the day we had already decided what and what not to use, as well as performing some initial editing. Like the day before, the university catered dinner for us (which was amazing!) and afterwards we left the university for our accommodation.
Rongo University round 3 – Friday 30th
Our aim today was to have our work edited and refined for a final presentation by 4pm. We got to work as soon as possible (around 9:30am) and continued the editing that we had started from the day before. We came across a major problem unfortunately, as the buildings we were in had a power cut and so we only had a couple of hours until the battery on our laptops would die. Fortunately, we had good work ethic and determination, and managed to accomplish the bulk of the editing process up until 12noon.
At 3:30pm we moved over to the administration building in which we would have the presentation of all the workshops, and finished off the final touches there before presenting our work to the rest of the groups, as well as to the dean of the university and our group leader Peter Day.
At the presentation we faced further technical issues, as the speakers provided for us were of bad quality and extremely low volume, but nevertheless we got very flattering feedback from everyone who was pleased and impressed from our work. I was particularly pleased to see that the Kenyan students in our group were really happy and felt accomplished from the work we had done, in which they thanked us for after the presentation.
Once again, the university fed us some lovely food and we then headed off to our accommodation for an early night, as the following day included an early start for the journey towards the Maasai Mara.