At the beginning of the second week we travelled to Rongo ( one looong bus ride ) but when we finally arrived we were kindly welcomed and introduced to the university staff. Before I start I have to say that Rongo University were great hosts feeding us literally every two hours. Thank you, that was appreciated.
On the first day we got introduced to the students we were going to work with. After the first workshop in Kenyatta University, we were feeling much more confident and relaxed. We started with a casual chat about our own experience with photography trying to get to know each other. After that we went out and started practicing with the cameras because nothing is as helpful as ‘hands on’ experience. We wanted to teach them but we also wanted them to have fun so we were using each other as models jumping around, playing football, etc. This time our group was smaller so it was easier to work with; we also had Fred who is extremely talented and was of great help. We had to decide as a group on a theme for the next day’s shoot. We knew we were visiting a local school where children from the Luo tribe were going to sing and dance for us. Performing is an important act for the tribe as it is a way of preserving their culture and traditions. We thought it would be a good idea to practice portraiture to be prepared for the next day. After that we decided on an additional theme. The students took us to a local gold mine where we were able to follow the process of digging, to washing the gold. We wanted to focus on the question of fair trade and exploitation of the workers there. In order to express that in the best way possible, we decided to create a digital story. After we got back, the guys from the video group filmed Boyana and Spencer talking about their experience and thoughts on the gold mine. We were full of ideas for both themes and were excited to go to the school on the following day.
When we arrived at the school, everyone was excited and curious to see us. It was an absolute pleasure to watch the dances. Firstly, we watched the girls performing then the boys sang and danced for us. It was really really interesting and I believe we all really enjoyed it. The students took some incredible photos. Later on, we photographed some of the performers individually practicing portraiture. We were playing around with some of the younger pupils; they loved sticking their faces on the cameras. We ended up with a lot of really good photos we could use for the final project. After lunch, we decided to start sorting out all the images and pick up the best ones. Again, that was a really long and difficult process. Luckily, by the end of the day we had a collection of photos for both themes. We further discussed how we wanted to structure our digital story and had a clear idea of what we needed to do on the next day.
Of course we were wrong. There was a power cut on the next day so we could use our laptops only for a limited time. The day started with a basic Photoshop session. The students edited some of the images we were going to use. Then we manage to finish the Luo tribe presentation. We arranged the photographs in a particular order, put one of the songs the boys at the school were singing as a soundtrack, added some text to give a little bit more information about the tribe. However, we could not create the digital story for the gold mine as we wanted it. We had no time to add text or voice over as we initially planned. I think the images themselves were very strong , we put on music as a soundtrack which made the presentation even more influential but the project would have contributed greatly if we had had the time to add a voice over or at least some text explaining more about the process. At the end of the day, we were ready to present despite the technical issues we all had. I think we all did a great job considering the time and the obstacles. At the end of the day we were taking selfies, exchanging emails and facebooks. It was quite sad because we were leaving Rongo but we also started to realise that we were leaving Kenya pretty soon.