Masai mara!

Day 12 in the wilderness. Lack of contact with the outside world and leaking toilets is starting to get to me. But on the plus side its safari day in the Masai mara! We got up to an early start at 4 am and left by five to ensure we got to the Masai mara on time and had enough time to get back. Which typically all fell through when we broke down… However the day started with an exciting pace, we had some nice breakfast and lunch packed by the lovely staff at Rongo university. Once we arrived, following a bumpy ride into the Masai we soon saw an array of wildlife! I luckily ticked off all the ones i was desperate to see, lions, elephants, giraffes, and monkeys. We also came across hippos, Ostriches, rhinos, crocodiles, a multi coloured lizard!, zebras, many deer, birds, buffalo and a tortuous! Once the day started to get late we started to drive out of the Masai mara, unfortunately our van started leaking oil and we broke down. Soon someone passed and towed us out to help, but if it wasn’t for the van breaking down we wouldn’t of come across two male lions which we got extremely close to! Once the people our driver rang arrived they took over as the other car couldn’t support the van. Me, rod and emily had to stay in the van whilst the others ditched us and enjoyed a luxurious ride and got to spot some hippos! Clear now who aren’t the team players ey! Anyway after being towed out of dangerous lion territory we stopped at a camp to wait for the van to be fixed at the garage. After a long wait it was clear it was too dangerous for the driver to get us to Nairobi in the dark, so instead we stayed the night in a scary bug tent! I am sure this will all be funny in the morning.

Lake victoria

Today we got to Rogo university a bit earlier so we could have time to drive to Lake Victoria. After breakfast we set off on the coach to visit the community next to Lake Victoria. After another bumpy three hours we parked up by the community centre to meet the people of the local communities. Coming as a big group of people was probably a bit intimidating to the group of people so after the speeches from Jerry, Willis and Peter we got the students of Rongo to organise the community members into two groups. Getting the Rongo students to interact with them was a better way to help communicate with them. Once they set up two groups we set up two cameras to film the meetings. We didn’t want to be shoving cameras in peoples faces so chaz, sarah and jen stood back and filmed discretely. (I was very impressed by the video skills jen and sarah learnt!). The visit to the lunch hall was interesting.. But the river was beautiful! After a long journey back we made it back for dinner and got some good sleep for the trip to the safari tomorrow.

Off to Rongo!!

Today we headed off on full bellies for the next part of our journey. After finishing work in Nairobi we set off for Rongo. Stopping off for a visit at a boarding school named. In only a short amount of time on the coach driving out of the city felt like i had experienced so much more of Kenya. We luckily saw some zebras, baboons and spring boks! Which made me even more excited for the safari! It soon became apparent the amount of poverty there was and how underdeveloped Kenya is. There was some beautiful views but it was also pretty sad. The stop at the school was brilliant. All the children were so excited to greet us and we had an amazing welcome into the school with singing from the students. These children were very fortunate to be in one of the best schools within the district, yet it was shocking that even though this was one of the best schools it still lacked facilities such as electricity and toilets they also had a lot of problems with water and the students had to share beds. The school had two wells 25 feet deep. But unfortunate they had to stop developing them, meaning they are in need of funding to continue work. In order to help raise awareness of this we filmed the head teacher and director of the school to make a promotional video for the school. Me, Rod and Lucy filmed the interview whilst they others got some b-roll of the children. Once we had finished we said our goodbyes and thank you’s to the staff and children. We then set of to our hotel, the road constructions caused a very bumpy ride! Which set us back a bit. Once we arrived we were pleasantly surprised with our accommodation and we soon got some z’d to recharge for our first day in Rongo.

Trip to the goveners

Today i woke up with a sense of relief knowing that we had got all our editing done, we just had a few minor tweaks left to make and export and upload the video. As we only had one computer with the programme for cs6 that edited quickly we decided to let the other group do their editing and then we could finish ours at a later date. After breakfast we set of for a trip to meet the governor to explain and demonstrate the activities Rongo university had been involved in. When we arrived there was a bit of waiting around while Peter went inside. It turned out that the governor was not actually in Rongo but Nairobi! In consequence we drove to the deputy governors quarters to continue the meeting there. After a lot of introductions, Peter and jerry discussed what we had been doing and raised the point about hoping to take two Rongo university students to brighton for an exchange. The deputy was more than pleased by the work we had been doing and said he welcomed this sort of activity. Once we got back to the university it had gotten a bit late so the other groups continued working hard on getting their editing done, which meant we had the chance to let some of our group to play around with the cameras and practice some photography we also worked on some stop motion.

Miners in poverty

I was excited to visit the local communities this morning, we had the chance to interact with the people who work in mining. We took this opportunity to document our interviews and b roll for our video. I was unsure what to expect before we arrived and i was definitely touched by the situation. Although these people produce gold for a living they were living in poverty. There was also the issue of child labour which was sad to see. No child should have to work in those conditions, but they have no other choice. Having the interview with the woman went well although we couldn’t understand the language it got translated to us back in the classroom. This produced some problems as it took a while to translate and choose the footage. But we sent two people away to write out what they were saying on camera whilst we edited the rest. This made it a lot quicker and more productive in the editing process. As the day went on we powered through the editing and we managed to end up with just under five minutes of footage! Now we just have a few tweaks left to make and we can export and upload our video to youtube. Overall i think we worked really well today as a team and have produced a meaningful product.

First workshop in Rongo

We were a bit late this morning because of problems with the water and partially because we chased a mosquito across the room! Which unluckily disappeared. Anyhow we set off for our first trip to Rongo university on the coach. We were a bit apprehensive about how the day would plan out because of the uncertainty of how many people would be there. When we arrived we had a warm welcoming from the staff, we met with the principle then the deans and professors for a meeting and photograph. We then moved back to the classroom and began to divide the groups up. We had about 18 students which was a bit of a relief as we didn’t have too many in each group we decided to have two groups of video, one for photography and one for audio. We then let the students choose which they wanted to do. In mine Chaz’s and Jen’s group we had five students to work with. It was a lot easier to start this workshop having the previous experience of the workshops in Niarobi. However it was a lot harder to get the students to engage and be passionate about the documentary. They did enjoy using the equipment and seemed to take full advantage of the opportunity, they also picked up the skills we taught them quite quickly. We mind mapped some ideas and came up with issues surrounding gold mining. We decided to focus on poverty in gold mining and how it is ironic that the miners who dig gold for money are poor. We then drew up the Storyboard and began to film. We were going to have two interviews one with a female miner and the students lecturer. We filmed some b roll around the university and one of their lecturers. After some direction they started to understand concepts of b roll and framing. We then chose to get some footage of local poverty in rongo, we walked just outside of the university and filmed some of the village. Once we came back we started to wrap up our work writing the scripts and finalising the questions for preparation for the trip to the mines tomorrow.

Farewell Nairobi

We managed to get a good breakfast in today before our last and final day conducting workshops in Nairobi! It was sad to leave but i feel like everyone made strong bonds with participants and i hope to have left a lasting impression. At the start of the day we sorted out exporting our video and uploading it to youtube as we had finalised everything it left some time to enjoy the last day and make a funny video. Throughout the rest of the day i felt like my editing skills came in particularly useful and i could help the other group with their editing. I felt very appreciated especially by the participants who were very grateful. We had some problems whilst editing mainly because we were rushed for time it was stressful but we all managed to pull it together with the help everyones knowledge. I do feel like because of the little time we had the participants didn’t gain as much editing training out of the experience as they could have. However that may have had to do with the size of the group. The end of the day we got to watch everyones videos on the screen it was brilliant to see how well the videos came out within the time we had. I feel like all the participants were so appreciative and proud by what they had done. And i hope that they went away with a better video understanding. On a final note Peter and Willis said some last words and it really drew into perspective the effectiveness of working as a team from people of all backgrounds to collaboratively learn. Not only did the participants take away something from us i also learnt a lot about their attitudes culture and the way they go about things. Hopefully from this service learning and training the trainers approach the community can go away to then pass on their knowledge and expertise to better the people of Kenya and their own personal development. As we said our goodbyes it just goes to show how working across cultures does work and is beneficial for both parties.

Jambo Matatus

Second day of training and This morning took off with incredible pace! We were up and ready for 7:30 am! Missing out on breakfast was hard but it was worth it in the end for the experience. We got to travel to Niarobi university and conduct our vox pops and interview with a young entrepreneur. I was extremely impressed with the way everyone worked on shoot and how organised they were. One of the members did not turn up till later and she didn’t have much of the experience filming with the camera, so to give her some more adequate time with the camera we sent her outside when we got to the hotel to do pretend interviews with me jen and rod. From the trip we ended up with some great footage and the best part was being able to ride on the matatus bus, very interesting selection of music to say the least! But an authentic Kenyan experience. When we arrived at the hotel we begun to put all the footage together and edit the film. We had some difficulties with sound which we partially fixed and i feel like even though the editor knew a lot, he and the rest of the group have taken away a lot more knowledge regarding editing structure and continuity. Overall i had a really fun day and we made stronger relationships with our group.

Un workshops

Today was our first day participating in and facilitating workshops for youth development.Waking up to an early start was a challenge. But there were many more challenges we faced throughout the day which we had to overcome. The aim of the workshops was to encourage volunteers to engage in skill training focussed on enhancing their own personal development and how to then use those skills for addressing community needs. After the introductory speeches from the Kenyan youth representatives we integrated ourselves amongst the volunteers. Firstly we had to think on our feet (as Peter warned we may have to do) there ended up being a lot less volunteers than we expected and many of us! We dealt with this by sorting ourselves into groups of mixed skills and dividing participants in to two groups. During the workshop i initially felt quite confident about teaching video as i have a good knowledge and understanding of it. To start we stuck to our plan for planning and development their ideas but we found it didn’t work as well as expected and we struggled to get an idea. I was a little thrown back because i felt i couldn’t help with the idea generating as much as i would have liked, my knowledge around entrepreneurship was not too strong. However when we got to the practical teaching they seemed to cooperate really well and engage with the equiptment. There were some language barriers but it was easier as the day went on! I found they were really eager to better their education and appreciative of our time. Whilst i felt they already had video skills they seemed to learn more technical terms and skills. We conducted test interviews and planned our storyboard. They also had a play with going and filming some b roll with the framing skills they learnt. As the day finished we concluded that we would travel to Nairobi university to do a vox pop and interview within the university.
Today was certainly a challenge i didn’t know what to expect and we were all a bit out of our comfort zones. Although i think we will be able to run smoother workshops from now on and in Rongo as we have had the experience.

My first day in kenya

After a long anticipated wait.. 12 hours of Hoola hooping and playing games in Zurich airport we finally made the flight to Niarobi! Being particularly sleep deprived i managed to snooze off for a solid 5 hours and wait up in time for some tasty plane food (my favorite). Arriving in Hartebeest campsite was exciting.. Starting to feel more at home at first it was a bit of a culture shock.. Mainly because of the toilets!
Waking up this morning was hard! But soon we were presented with a lovely breakfast to get the day going. A bit later on we sat down with Peter and started to talk about our plans for the next three days. Planning the workshops went smoothly and we have all worked out a schedule for the training. Willice soon arrived after the planning and we got to go through the plan with him. Overall i feel much more prepared for our activities and confident we can provide a successful workshop.