Out & About in the Community

Today was our first day out doing fieldwork in the community of Cham Gi Wadu. After breakfast, we rendezvoused in the lecture rooms and split off in to groups based on what media we preferred to work in. I decided to do video as that is what I feel most comfortable with, but there was also the option of working with photography or audio.


I felt a lot of responsibility within the video group because of my background and the fact that I came on this trip last year with the purpose of making the CM4K documentary. The video group was also the largest of the three groups, so I decided to split us into three groups based on the three topics that Peter mentioned that he wanted us to cover:

  • Aaron, Eve and Mercie worked on the documentation of the project. They focused telling the story of CM4K and the asset mapping that was taking place.
  • Angel and May worked on getting vox-pops with the community members as well as footage for an appeal video.
  • Kassim worked on small vignettes of roughly 30 seconds that show the location of each building. He was later joined by Angel and May after they finished their vox-pops.

I, to the best of my ability, tried to oversee each project so that I was readily available to use my experience whenever it was needed.


The first location that we visited was the district chief’s office in Cham Gi Wadu. It was here that I decided to split the video team into three sub groups. We started by filming the introduction between Peter and the District Chief – I supported Aaron and Eve by monitoring the audio through the zoom audio recorder. We then interviewed the chief using the same set up – Aaron focusing on the camerawork, Eve holding the boom and myself monitoring the audio. In hindsight, I feel that these clearly defined roles are a necessity to successfully completing this fieldwork as the structure will help us focus on what we need to do.


The rest of my time at Cham Gi Wadu was spent between the three sub-groups within our video team. My main focuses were making sure everyone was using the equipment properly and were concentrated on shooting the right footage based on what sub-group they were part of. At one point, I saw Angel and May attempting a vox-pop without a proper microphone, so I provided them with one and helped them set it up. During this time, I realised that there was not clarity within each group when it came to what they specifically had to do, so I made quite a few notes on what was being done so that I could later on write up a clear order of business. I completed my time at the district chief’s office by helping organise a part of the charity appeal video where each community member said a word from the phrase “please help us build a community radio station at Cham Gi Wadu” before as a group saying, “thank you for your support”.


The second location that we went to was the Kakwara Primary School. On the bus journey there I had written up what sub-group should focus on so that there was no overlap in filmic materials. When I got off the bus I explained these roles to everyone. We did not get everything filmed here as we were extremely pressed for time and the introductions continued for longer than we hoped. It was still interesting to listen to the head teacher talk about his school, and I could see that Aaron and Eve had recorded the whole thing so we can still use part of it for context of the story. All of the kids came out whilst I was in the introductory meeting, so it was great to be greeted by all of them – they all seemed so fascinated by me!


We then left to go to a second school – Omara Mixed Secondary School. When we arrived, I was asked by Isabelle to interview the head teacher, which I found fascinating. He was an extremely intelligent man with a strong interest in mass media communications and one of the first people in the community that really understood the influence that the community radio station could have on this area. He then told us about the journalism club that the school runs and asked if we can give the students a few lessons on how to work a camera. Of course we said yes, and I was soon surrounded by 20 or so teenagers that were eager to learn about my camera. At first I found it quite intimidating as I am not used to speaking in front of a large group of people. However, I could see that they were all keen for me to share my knowledge so that made me feel a lot more comfortable. I spoke about how to operate the camera for both photography and video and answered the questions that they had. I then set up a scenario where some of the students were in front of the camera speaking about themselves and their aspirations and others recorded them. It was a great experience as it makes me happy that I have shared my experience with people that are willing to learn.


Our final destination was the Omara Mixed Primary School, just up the road from the secondary school. Unfortunately, we were extremely short for time and therefore had to rush through. There was enough time for an introduction by the head teacher and a beautiful song from the children. We also managed to grab a quick group photo with them before heading off to the bus. They were all so fascinated by my skin – they kept poking the back of my neck which wasn’t pleasant as it is sun burnt!


When we returned to the pastoral centre we spent some time reflecting on our day – what went well and what we thought needed to improve. We came to an agreement that the main problems were that there was a lack of organisation and understanding when it came to everyone’s individual roles. We discussed that we needed to meet in our groups in the morning to assign roles so there is clarity of what needed to be done. We knew that we over ran on time because of the number of formal greetings that we had to do, so we decided that tomorrow we will have to spend more time focusing on the shots that we are doing and less time communication with the different communities.


It will be interesting to see how these changes turn out tomorrow.


Sam 🙂

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