Day 5 reflections of the trip organiser

Day 5 provided us with the first real glimpse of the Kenyan sun. I think we all hope that that is he last we shall see of the rain. Whilst it’s not like UK rain, being warm and in its own way quite pleasant at times – I think we’ve all seen enough of the rain back home to want any more. Also it was extremely heavy in some areas which meant water coming down from higher ground often found its way into urban areas and onto roads – causing even more traffic problems.

Once we finally made it into Kenyatta University, it was all systems go! Luckily most of the participants from KU & SEMA arrived on time and those who were stuck let us know. So it was time to crack on with the editing and preparations. One of the things you notice over the years is the length of time this stage takes and it is at this point that students begin to realise the enormity of the production planning decisions they made a day or two earlier during the exciting stages of early collaboration with people from different backgrounds. This has certainly been the case here but the students, to their credit, have not let this deter them – working at times to 2 in the morning to get it finished right. Truth be told I am very proud of them for their determined enthusiasm.

The Video team chose to produce two pieces, which they had hoped to merge although I suspect they will now be two standalone pieces. One will be a documentary on the issues surrounding tribalism, which was shot both on campus and in the community of KM. The other is a short drama dealing with the pressures and issues surrounding mixed marriages (this comes complete with its own wedding ceremony) through a tribalistic lens. Oscar and Lewes have been working flat out on this and have impressed me heaps. They are still at it now as I write this.

The radio crew have also been very adventurous. They have produced their own 30 minute radio show in podcast form focussing on the issue of food security and hygiene, which is receiving a lot of attention at the moment, especially in food outlets in poorer areas. This has been a very vibrant and energetic group and Lola & Keji have also been burning the midnight oil getting this just right.

The photographers have undertaken a number of community shoots and have produced literally thousands of some quite stunningly atmospheric pictures. Their topic is happiness and joy as an alternative way of perceiving Kenyan life. Students taking Communications for Development next semester will think about representations of poverty in this kind of way. They also went out and ran a participatory photography session in the local community and got some great process and product shots. I think they are just about ready to go for the exhibition later today at the Alliance Francaise in the heart of Nairobi city centre.

This will be our last activity in Nairobi this year as we head to Rongo University in Migori County tomorrow. When we get there the blog frequency will depend on network conditions which are not great.

All in all it has been a great week and the students have done themselves, their families, the University, CM4K & myself proud!

Postscript: One sour note when I woke up this morning there had been a call from one of the students who was travelling with her children to join us for the final week. She was meant to arrive this evening. She and the kids travelled up from Brighton on the 01.40 bus to Heathrow terminal 2 only be stopped at check-in and told she would not be allowed to travel. Apparently it is law that passengers have to have 6 months validity on their passports to travel. As we return from Kenya on the 1st February, her passport falls outside of this law. Had we travelled back on the 31st, she would have been ok! This is so frustrating. I was face-timing with her on Keji’s I phone and both she and the kids are absolutely devastated – to say nothing of the loss of money she paid on the tickets. I think she has been able to get a refund for the children as she paid at the airport but as for her own fair, etc I suspect it is lost. I felt so impotent 1000s of miles away and unable to help them. Such a shame!

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