Today we were picked up early and taken to the university to have breakfast, luckily the university isn’t as far away to travel to as KU. The grounds are beautiful with less than a five minute walk away from our room a beautiful view stretching far back to the hills.
(Above: View at Rongo University)
In the morning I walked to the clinic to see someone about the bites on my leg; the woman gave me three days’ worth of anti-histamines and was recommended not to drink with while taking them much to my disappointment.
We met the students and got into our groups me and Angelica again did photography again but Lana decided to give audio a go. Ali from SEMA media travelled with us from Kenyatta to help out and again was in our photography group. Two further students joined us so a smaller group then KU which I preferred. This time we were given the topic of the Lou Community and their traditions with a focus on their dancing. We brainstormed different types of shots we wanted to capture and why and presented our ideas to Jerry and the group. Afterwards we went for a walk around outside the grounds and practiced using the cameras. Everyone was very friendly and instead of the usual don’t take photos of me they were asking us to take a photo of them!
Today I woke up and my legs had been severely attacked by something. It looks pretty awful, I’m not going to post a photo because it looks like something off embarrassing bodies but I’m just hoping that it goes pretty rapidly as I will now be unable to wear shorts.
Today we were picked up by a big blue and gold bus and travelled 8-10 hours from Nairobi to Rongo. It was a long and tiring journey but the view was breath-taking. On the way we stopped off at the Great Rift Valley that runs through Kenya north to south. Although I took many images none of them could do the scenery justice.
(Above: The Great Rift Valley)
(Above: Me, Lewes, Oscar and Angelica on the bus to Rongo)
We went to the university to have some dinner then went back to our accommodation which looked nice from the outside but we quickly learned there were a few problems with most of the rooms, mostly bathroom related.
Today we had a bit of a lie in as we had finished selecting the final images for the exhibition which was later today held at Alliance Francoise. We drove to a market with the exception of Lewes and Oscar who had to stay behind to finish their video project so it was just all the girls. We bought some nice gifts for people from a stall owned by a woman called Pumpkin and then stopped off on the way back to a nice viewpoint to take some photos.
(Above: Kej, Angelica and Rufus at the market)
(Above: Viewpoint of Nairobi)
We picked the others up and then went to the exhibition where the photos had already been displayed. The photography group (Me, Angelica and Lana) were a bit disappointed because the images weren’t very good quality, there were some missing and they were not laid out with the quotes which was the point of the exhibition. But the images themselves were very good and I was happy that I got some images in the exhibition. It was quite fun and lots of photos were taken with everyone as this would be the last time we saw them all. We went back to the guesthouse and had a few drinks to celebrate, but not too many as we had a long journey to Rongo the next day.
(Above: Some of the final images at the exhibition)
I am slowly getting used to these early starts; when we arrived at KU there were lots of people missing and we were waiting a while to get started, luckily they eventually all turned up and we went out altogether to the Kenyatta Market (KM) which was just outside the university gates. It was busy and full of life and overall I took 300 images, some of them really good I was very happy with what I achieved.
(Above: Some of KM)
We went back to the classroom to go through all the images; unfortunately Angelicas camera ran out of battery very early in the day but we still had 3 full cameras worth of images to go though and the day before to pick just around 20. This process was the most stressful as everyone liked different images and were naturally quite attached to the ones they had taken. If there was no clear consensus we voted on it. We also had to consider what interviews we had as we needed them to create the caption so if we didn’t have an interview or no way to get one we couldn’t include the image.
(Below: Some Images I took – hard to pick only a few)
Today I felt a bit better as I slept fairly well but I was extremely nervous about the day ahead and taking photos as most people stare a lot because I suspect they probably don’t see white people around much at all add that to the language barrier (although most speak very good English) and the fact we are trying to take photos of them which is quite personal and intrusive.
In the morning we talked further about our ideas and presented them to Peter who was happy with what we had come up with. After lunch we split into 2 groups; Angelica, Impeesa, Ali and Yyvette went to the shopping centre, swimming pool and the park and Me, Fanuel, Brenda and Lana went to the girl and boy dorms. I didn’t take any photos but instead taught Brenda how to use the camera as she had never used one before. We also tried to interview everyone we took a good image of so we could have a short caption under the image. We asked their names, what they enjoyed doing in their spare time and how that made them feel which created a good quote. We reconvened at the end of the day to look through the images we had taken and picked out some of the best.
(Above: photography group selfie)
Last night there was a blackout which was a little scary and inconvenient as in the morning we found that none of our equipment had fully charged, luckily it was not needed as much today as we were just meeting the other students, getting into our groups and planning what we are going to do for the days ahead.
I didn’t have a very good sleep last night and we had to get up at around 6.30am to have breakfast at 7am and be on the minibus by 8am. The journey to the university was a good hour with lots of traffic but the view out of the window was very interesting and enlightening, showing much diversity in buildings and the way of life which is far from that of the western world.
When we got to Kenyatta University it was a huge, beautiful campus that looked more like a small village. We were greeted by students from the university and by a Kenyan youth group called SEMA media. We started with a ‘rock, paper, scissors’ ice breaker which went down really well and got everyone more comfortable with each other. Then peter went through a presentation with us all before we got into groups of photography, audio and video.
(Above: Fred, Peter, Lana and Fanuelle)
I went into the photography group because I felt most comfortable with this one and I don’t have much confidence so I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew. Our group members included me, Angelica, Lana, Fanuelle, Ali, Brenda, Impessa, and Yvette. We discussed ideas and topics that were interesting and most importantly achievable in the short time we had. As we were mostly at the university we needed to incorporate shots we could get around campus, we discussed student life and portraits showing a lot of emotion because these in turn create emotion in the viewer. We decided we would like to take a positive stand and pick a topic that showed happiness and the good things in the community rather than negative issues that needed addressing and evoke sadness. We thought that it would be a good idea to catch people doing what they love; a hobby, interest etc. and write a brief caption underneath, inspired by the humans of New York stories. After we had decided we had a brief walk around the campus and went to the amphitheatre to look around.
(Above: The photography group outside the Amphitheatre)
(Above:Lana, Fanuelle and Angelica)
I woke up this morning feeling very happy and refreshed after a surprisingly good sleep due to a combination of a very comfy bed, my earplugs and the protection of a mosquito net.
Breakfast was a delicious section of fruit and fruit juice followed by pancakes, egg and most importantly a huge portion of Marmite on toast to keep the mozzies at bay. In the light of day we really got a chance to see how beautiful the area we were staying really was.
(Above: The view from the balcony at the guesthouse)
We decided we would check out the town and all packed into the minibus and headed off. The traffic was unbearably slow but it gave us a chance to take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding area.
(Above: Packed into the minibus)
I saw lots of street food stalls and tiny run down kiosks although degraded; colourful, unique and full of life. The locals I’ve encountered have all been very friendly, happy and smiley which gives you a great feeling and makes the whole experience even more rewarding.
We went to a local supermarket to get money and sort phones and then to a café where we had a coffee before heading back to the guesthouse to enjoy some authentic local food cooked by the staff. Peter also organised a group meeting to discuss our plans for the week ahead which set the nerves into motion and sparked us all into action.
(Above: working hard in the garden at the guesthouse)
Today we are planning on relaxing which is well needed after a long and slightly stressful 18+ hour journey.
I rushed straight to Heathrow from a gig in London on the Saturday night before the tubes closed, they were all running late because of a short staff problem but luckily I managed to catch the last one. I waited in Costa for 3 hours till the others arrived at 4am and when we did get on the first flight to Zurich It was delayed by an hour due to the unexpected appearance of snow in England, for which they were clearly unprepared. Luckily our second flight from Zurich waited for us and we settled in for a further 8 hour plane journey with the help of a selection of recently released films, food and alcohol and an intense game of scrabble.
When we got off the plane excitement was in the air, it was 10pm local time but still very warm. We drove to the Nairobi airport stopover guesthouse, stopping off at a garage to get some essentials. We were all very tired so after a quick tour around, we settled into our bunk-beds in our charming little yellow outhouse and had an early night excited to see Nairobi in the daylight.
(Our accommodation at the Nairobi airport stopover guesthouse)