Stories from our Cities

Due to the issues that we had with the car the night before we weren’t able to go and help Fred set up stories from our cities on the Monday so we all just chilled out when we got home and had a few drinks and played a few games. The morning of the Tuesday that we were flying out, we went into Nairobi town to find the Barclays building. We got very lost and drove around for a while. When we found the building, we went up to the exhibition, which had not been set up yet. Peter and I were simply gutted that our images did not make the cut in the exhibition with our photographs.

Oh well, we helped frame and put up the work whilst dancing around with two very sweet little girls and then we left. We drove around to try to find a Maasai market where I could find the PERFECT giraffe. Unfortunately, we could not find any that were open to we headed back to pack. Peter went off for a nap and that is where it began…

As I lay down to take a quick nap before we had to leave for the airport at nine as asked Jen to give me a makeover. What she did to me, started the entire camp to get make overs, even Roderick. We all looked rather interesting…. And that is how we spent our last day in Kenya.


Hakuna Matata

What an amazing day!!! We left very early to head to the Safari and in true Kenyan style the bus was an hour late. Meaning that we could have all got an extra hour in bed but oh well. The bumpy road to the Massai Mara was tough as we were squeezed in like sardines and our bums were numb. In the Safari we saw 4 of the big five which was exciting; lions, elephants, buffalo and a rhino. We also saw hippos, crocs, warthogs and monkeys.

The most exciting part of the day was getting really close to giraffes, we saw loads of giraffes, which I got excited about. :):):)

As we were leaving the park, we unfortunately broke down due to an oil leak. So we were towed out of the park (whilst some went in another van to watch some hippos). As we were leaving the park, we saw two male lions who were injured. Our poor little van was towed to a local hostel where we stayed the night. The texts that we stayed in were amazing it was as if we were glamping, and our tent was called giraffes. This just proves that many good things came out of something that could have ended so disastrous. P1000663

A Fishy Feeling

Today we took a trip to Ndhiwa on Lake Victoria. The journey was very long and we had a meeting with the principle when we got there. The people from the village who came along got into two groups and started talking about ways in which their partnership with Rongo University College and better media communications. Chaz and I both stayed behind to film what was relayed back (however there were issues with hearing the audio without being too invasive).

And then this was for lunch…1549538_10152156615876351_2048758794_n

A Gold Mining Paradox: Faces of Rural Poverty


Today we woke up early again and waited around for the day to get going. All of the students and the lecturers travelled to Migori for a meeting with the Governor (which ended up being with the deputy Govener) about the prospect of sending students from Rongo University to the University of Brighton for a few weeks. That was interesting and I enjoyed seeing a lot of Migori.

When we got back, it was lunchtime and I managed to eat too much food again. Our photography group only had a few issues with the video to sort out and the final changes to perfect. We talked through what need to be done and sorted it out before adding it to YouTube and Facebook. Under the name of ‘A Gold Mining Paradox: Faces of Rural Poverty’


More Food

We started this day with another very big breakfast. After breakfast both University of Brighton and Rongo University College students got the bus to one of the local villages where they were Gold mining. We did a lot of technique practice on portrait photography and their photographs came out amazing. When we all got back to the university, we started importing the pictures into Moviemaker to begin making it into a photographic video story. After a few technology issues when Moviemaker was not compatible with the photographs we had taken we had to change our plan.

We introduced the students to Photoshop and taught them a few of the major functions in editing a photograph. They had a bit of time to experiment with it themselves and see how they could mutilate the original images they had taken. We managed to get Moviemaker to work and started editing the video whilst teaching them Movie Maker basics.


We called it a night a said we would return to it the next day when we had a clear mind. Often little things like that need you to stand back for a bit for you to be able to realize the issue is something quite easily fixed.

First Day in Rongo

We left our hotel at 8 o’clock and drove into Rongo University. This is where we had an amazing breakfast where my eyes were too big for my belly. We had introductions to the Dean of Media Communications and all of the other professors, including the students. Then we separated into four groups; two video, one audio and one photography. (I was happy that I got a chance to do some photography with the students, as I was clueless when it came to the video production workshops in Nairobi). We started mind mapping with groups, talking about what topics they wanted to discuss and raise awareness. They wanted to concentrate on marriages, – after a discussion with Peter, we thought that it would be difficult to photograph (unless we were to convieniently stumble across a Kenyan marriage). We managed to come up with another idea, “Faces of Rural Poverty”.

–          What are the health implications of poverty?

–          How can we raise awareness?

–          How can you photograph poverty?

After lunch we started doing photography tutorials..

–          Framing

–          Landscape and portrait

–          Rule of thirds

–          Camera angles

–          Close ups

–          Putting up tripods

–          Storyboarding

–          Using the camera to focus

–          Blurring different objects in and out

Flat Bottom

Everyone decided to go to bed rather early after we had packed up our stuff in the hostel. I woke up this morning at six for my third freezing cold shower of the trip and started getting ready. We left a little late, however that seemed like the norm for Kenyan time, as they are all very chilled out. Our first part of the journey took about 3 hours, it was incredible to see a lot more of Kenya through the coach window and I could not sleep, as I did not want to miss anything. We spotted some zebras and baboons on the way too.

We arrived at the school at around 2pm and walked up the gates. As we entered the school, the kids were singing us a welcome song, which was incredible, and we walked through the middle of them as we were on the red carpet. After lunch as a quick tour around the school, we visited the different classrooms to talk to the kids about what they were learning and they were so interesting in us. Asking about our clothes, jewelry and about England. Everyone wanted to shake hands (even the tinny kids). Sadly we could not stay too long after we finished filming an interview and B-roll for a promotional video to build a new well for them, but we said our goodbyes and left. I am now writing this blog on a coach we have all been on for a very long time on our way to Rongo University, very apprehensive about what our accommodation will be like.


It was the last day of our workshops and the pressure was on to finish this project. After only two hours sleep and a very early morning going before the rest of the group to crack on with editing I was feeling a bit fragile.

– Although the night before was very stressful a positive thing that I can take from a 3 hour editing session with Chaz and Taylor showing me how to do simple premiere pro tricks. I learnt a lot whilst we were editing. In a way they were training the trainers.

We spent the whole morning editing which was also tricky having about 11 of us around a computer but it all worked out. Unfortunately due to the fact that we were in such a rush to edit we didn’t get much time to give them tutorials. But HAKUNA MATATA….

We watched the videos after lunch and have a few words about what has been happening. I was so proud of our group as I feel they made such a huge effort and the video looked fantastic.

It is important to remember that it is not professional media editing it is community media. I think that negative feedback to these guys was really unfair as it is always important to highlight the good parts of people’s work not bring to the surface a very things that they can improve on. Especially as they are so passionate about their video and so proud.

Willis ended the session with a very motivational speech about a boy and a wise man. With the end of the story leading to ‘the future is in your hands’. Using media to talk about fundamental issues in communities. Hopefully the skills we taught these last few days will help create a wider community all familiar with video production, and that they will be able to teach them the skills they learnt.

Big long day!

Today was a VERY long day, although very rewarding! I got woken up by a kiss on the hand by Rod in the morning. The other editing group left very early to do some filming in Nairobi. We all had a very relaxing morning and got on the coach at 9 to head to the hotel for a full day of filming and editing (although we forgot the tripod) After a few technology issues we started with our group mapping out our plan for the day.

They were all very exited to start and had thought of a lot of ideas over night. Some how our group had multiplied today which was a real challenge. Trying to manage sometimes 9 people with only 3 of us (as Lucy had been called away to plan Stories from our Cities) was actually a real challenge. We had to constantly have stuff for everyone to do which is hard when there is only one camera and one computer. The two interviewees were really impressive, the way they both made it their own and started planning through what they were going to say made it really special. What also impressed me was the way in which everyone took to their individual roles. It made filming a lot More relaxing as they took charge of the entire thing. We got loads of b roll sorted out and and all the interviews filmed just before lunch so that we can edit when we get back.

I found after lunch really challenging, all filming had been done as we had to start editing. I started off advising George and Stacey on creating a final scene in photoshop that shows peace. George was so fantastic he ended up teaching me.

We borrowed Angela’s lap top for the editing but it did not have the right software to support the footage so we had to use Peter’s. It took a very long time to get this all going and enthusiasm was beginning to slip. Practically trying to teach 8 people premier pro was always going to be a logistical nightmare. (It was rarer odd that the other group had 3 people whilst we had a total on 8 most of the time). As I am not too good at premier pro (like not at all) I felt like I was pretty useless for the afternoon which I really didn’t like. We were having so many technical problems that we didn’t manage to get ally of editing done at all. With realistically only two hours of time to edit tomorrow whilst trying to teach them at the same time, it didn’t look like we were going to get this completed and everyone was beginning to panic. We agreed that me, Taylor and Chaz would continue editing tonight and come in two hours early the following day to work on it.

When we got back to camp there was no time to relax. We took ourselves to Lucy and Maddy’s room and began editing. Whilst everyone was cracking into some wine :(. After over 3 hours of stressful editing we decided to call it a night….

To be continued.


Peace, Marriage and Cultural Identity

As Peter had said, we will have a lot of challenges that we have to be prepared for and it is our job to make sure we can think on our feet and run with it. The first major challenge that we had to address was that not everyone on the workshop had turned up on the first day. More people will be joining us tomorrow that we will have to figure out a plan for. So our whole day of planning on Thursday needed to be adjusted.

We started the work shop by splitting into groups. (Luckily we have a lot of very skilled video people that can guide us) so we assessed our skills and made two groups of five. We had 5 people in the groups assigned to us which we would then be working on to create a 2-3 minute video to raise awareness of the inter faith issues that they felt passionately about. After a brief introduction from us we started mind mapping things in their lives that meant most to them.

– Culture
– Environmental Issues
– Marriage (Divorce)
– Peace

After talking through what all of these issues meant to them we dribbled across a common ground.

They explained to us how proud they were that they were Kenyans, and how many tribes there were that were mixing successfully in community. This seemed like a topic they really wanted to explore and encourage. So we altered our main topic to INTERCULTURAL and then set out addressing the negatives and positive of intercultural diversity. We all decided on the subject of how marriage has become an primary way of allowing the different tribes to engage with each other, and learn from each other. How it was becoming popular in keeping their rich culture alive whilst also progressing and changing. (This sounded like something I really wanted to understand more about. With the title of ‘Peace, Marriage and Cultural Diversity’ we set about constructing questions that they wanted to address. We showed our team how to story board their ideas and plan out how they were going to film this documentary and to my surprise everyone was very engaging and enthusiastic. (This was a relief as it seemed to be a bit of a struggle to get them motivated at the start). After a brief introduction to story boarding we showed them the equipment they were going to be using and taught them a few useful tips whilst videoing documentaries. We then explained the key roles, eg producer, director, camera man etc and let them choose what they would like to be. It was so nice to see them engage and get excited about their roles and really get into character. We then had a mock interview with Taylor and I as the interviewees, (this was fun as we had no idea about intercultural marriages in Kenya. They laughed at some of our silly answers. We then talked through b roll ideas and started filming our very first scene. In this scene their would be two hands with weddings rings on them, the idea was that they were symbolising how two different cultures can be brought together in unity. So I volunteered my hand for the job ( it was nice to be married if only for a few minutes.)

After that we filmed a few more b roll shots and discussed what we were planning to do with the interviews tomorrow.

By the end of the day we were all shattered from a pretty hands on first day but it was very rewarding to say the least. I think our team bonded well and I look forward to continuing to work with them again tomorrow.

Our last thing for the day was to visit the Maasai markets which were so very busy and so overwhelming after the day we had, I didn’t end up buying anything which is probably for the best.