Lions (giraffes, wilderbeest, elephants ect) and (lack of) tigers and bears oh no! Safari has been 100% excellent and considering all the mishaps and what-nots I think its gone as well as it possibly could have. The day started later and took longer than originally planned but we arrived at the massai mara safe and sound and saw what beauty the world has to offer all in one peaceful place.. we saw the big 5, minus the cheetah so technically the big 4 and witnessed the most amazing majestic animals in their natural habitat; it made me think of the world differently and I saw it through different eyes.. the massai as a community preserve the land for these animals and protect them from as much harm as they possibly can, its been amazing to see how the world works together with eachother in harmony for the benefit of all and the experience has left me feeling inspired to help and in awe of how ‘the other half’ live.
The van then developed a minor hole with major consequenses that again made me admire everyones sense of community. We faced a long wait amongst the lions at their feeding time in an overcrowded van full of sleepy and hungry women but everyone was optimistic and aside from the many getting eaten by lions jokes and light hearted moaning everyone actually pulled together quite well in my opinion and avoided unnessecary arguments and tension… I think… some people were quite rightly stressed but we all were quite fully aware that the whole situation was noones fault and there was nothing to do other than look on the bright side of things!
Worrying gets you nowhere but worried and I firmly believed that we would come to no harm regardless of where we ended up (we are currently resided in a nearby lodge reception playing card games after a meal). I am aware that it has been a massive inconvinience not only to our days plans getting back to nairobi but also for tomorrows exhibition plans but no harm came to anyone and in the grand scheme of things the lack of sleep and unnessecary stress are not the worst things that have come from today… and for being stranded at almost dusk in the middle of a safari I think things could have gone a lot worse. The community media group acted as a little community, much like the massai mara in a sense and the londiani community as we made the best of our situation and collectivly, so far, have quite literally made it out of the lions den alive
Today was similar to yesterday in regards to lack of organisation.. gerry doesnt seem to have mastered the art of communication and once again lugged us along with the rongo students three hours away to a rural community on the edge of lake victoria. Similar to yesterday there had been some sort of mix up and as it was market day noone had turned up.. this was rectified by a member of the community going to the nearby school to round up the troops to make it look as though there hadn’t been an attendance issue. In my (and not only mine, peters and the rest of the brighton students) opinion the trip was somewhat confusing and rude to begin with anyway as none apart from gerry knew what our plans were; we didnt know who we were visiting or why and therefore our very appearance in our masses could have been seen as a intrusion.
All of our work there with the community would have been fueled by assumptions and would have been a pointless experience for both parts because 1: there needs were not established prior to our visit meaning we were not prepared for what was to come and 2: the sheer amount of students that turned up with no material prepared could have been/probably was seen as an intrusion which defeats the whole object of partnering with others and contradicts community work as it does not allow the recipient’s to feel comfortable with sharing what their needs are which results in us generating their needs for them in a sense.
We did however eat some delicious fish from lake victoria and got a chance to edit the footage we hadnt had time to finish in Rongo; this spare time we had allowed us to reflect on our experience in Kenya so far and gave us a little bit of time to organise the aspects of editing that we hadn’t finalized.
You see africa on the television in heart breaking charity adverts and you feel a sudden urge to help others thats often quicky taken away by an advert for KFC or something along those lines and the moments gone; its not until you experience poverty first hand such as today does it actually sink in that these people need help. Today visiting the londiani boarding school was an eye opening experience; we met so many children who quite literally are living off the basics and their lack of food, clean water and parents tugged at my heart strings, yet they were possibly the happiest bunch of little faces I think ive seen. Their innocent smiles filled me with happiness followed by an overwhelming sense of guilt because it highlighted the fact that, to quote my mummas band, ‘there is no longer any valid excuse for mass poverty’ (Fat Life. 2000) and it made me feel guilty for how lucky I have been.
Their sense of community is one ive never experienced before as they pull together as a family to make the most of what they have. They are so incredibly resourceful, using everything they can to their advantage; from growing their own food/owning their own cows to reduce milk costs to mixed, overcrowded classes with understaffed teachers. All feelings of guilt and confusion aside today was a happy experience for both sides I feel and we got some good footage to use in the video. The children seemed happy and thats all that matters, electricity and clean water are things that will come with time but I am confident that they will get what they deserve; after all they are a highly rated school that more and more people want their children to attend so hopefully with the help of others they can achieve a better quality of life. Today posed a number of those life questions that I cannot answer and I think thats why I felt the way I did…. why do these people have nothing while others bathe in metaphorical gold? How is that fair? ‘it is the birth right of every man woman and child on this planet to share in the abundance of life and to be spared unnessecary suffering. We were given the garden in order that we may grow the fruit, pick the fruit and share the fruit.’ (Fat Life. 2000) so why are people still without? It nakes no sense to me. These are questions I do not have the answer to but today has urged me to help in any way I can to make the less fortunate a little less-less fortunate in any way I can and when I get back to brighton I am going to put this into practice and make use of the many volunteer programmes I have been looking at but never followed through.
As we left the lovely school and the equally as lovely and curious children we faced a lonnngggg journey ahead of us that again shocked me. I was aware we were going to be travelling along a dirt track for a lot of the journey to rongo because the road was under construction and was prepared for this; I dont get travel sick so hakuna matata….. until the coach quite literally almost tipped on its side into a ditch on several occassions. I was on the edge of my seat for a good half an hour/hour
and trying not panic! Eratic driving scares me as it is.. add some heat and a scarily close drop to the mix and youve got yourself a bag o’nerves. I reminded myself that the driver obviously must have driven that way before and therefore knew the route; this helped a lot but I still stuck to my ostrich ways and stuck my head in the sand and pretended all was fine; which it was, just nerve racking. We are still on the coach at the moment and about 45 minutes away from where were going my earwigging is correct. I am sleepy, peckish and my bums gone numb so I hope our end destination will arrive in the near future.
Today has been a harder day than I had originally imagined.. things went wrong at the beginning of the day that were easily overcome, such as lack of equiptment (projector ect), but we made good use of our time after the first half an hour faff and began our a-roll filming. We spent quite a long time deciding on shots as the participants were a little/a lot picky on where they would like to be interviewed.. we suggested a number of suitable locations but they had a specific view in mind of how they would like the documentary to look so insisted on finding the perfect location; this was a slight waste of time but I feel it was nessecary in order for them to learn about shots and camera angles so in my personal opinion time was not completely wasted. Time was wasted however after the interviews had been filmed as we had a number of technical issues, that due to lack of editing ability on our part meant we had to leave the participants at some what of a loose end while we collectively tried to figure out why the footage was not being recognised on angelas/peters computer. Technical issues have been a proverbial pain in the arse today as they have slowed down the overall process of editing; angelas computer wasnt HD ready so couldnt recognize the camera and for some unknown reason the cameras had been mixed up during the night, resulting in two days worth of footage spead over the two groups cameras. I felt embarrassed for a time while these issues were being solved (thank you maddy for coming to the rescue you beautiful lady, you saved our metaphorical bacon) because as a group of 3rd year media students, who have travelled half way accross the world to teach people media skills to then turn around and say to the people who are meant to be benefitting from our skills ‘im sorry, I dont understand why this is happening’ felt incredably unproffessional and I couldnt help feeling as though my university experience hadnt actually taught me a great deal (in terms of editing……). After a bit of a fluster on my part and a cigarette we knucked down, asked for help from someone who knew more about premiere and put our footage in order according to our storyboard; due to the nearing home time-time we decided (after being asked by all of the participants) that we would edit when we got home so tomorrow would be a little easier for all parties and we could get everything done.
We got back to the camp after stopping off for a bottle or three of wine and realised that, as we had agreed to almost finalize the documentary, we had quite a lot of work to do so set off in a quiet room editing. It is now 11 o’clock and evryone is intoxicated on the delicious wine apart from us and I am writing this blog. Actually quite ironically as I wrote that last sentence I was challenged to down my full glass of wine as we had missed out a little on the communal drinking.
All tired whinging aside I actually thoughrally enjoyed today as it made me assess my own personal skills; I realised that while I dont actually know that much about editing or video production I knew a considerable amount more than the people we were teaching. I also realised that teaching is an incredibly hard thing to do and I have discovered a new found respect for every teacher. Ever. I have made new rafiki’s here and my time here has proved actually an incredibly valuable and eye opening experience. I am now going to catch up on the wine I have missed out on and prepare myself for tomorrows challenging yet surprisingly enjoyable tasks. Kenya is grand and right now peter is givong a speach that I must film so good night and god bless!!
Today has been a day filled with new words, new people and new skills; I have learnt more in the past two days about editing than I have in my 5 years doing media studies… which shocked me for a number of obvious reasons. While I have tried throughout my education to pick up softwares such as final cut and premiere pro it has always been a struggle to hold onto what I have learnt… much like card games I learn something new and when it comes to putting into practice what I learnt, the next time its as if I had never learnt it in the first place; this has in the past left me feeling unmotivated and actually quite stupid. This time however I seemed to have held onto the information I learnt (I hope….) and this is possibly due to the fact that other people were counting on me to teach them what I knew. Last night we had to edit for a while in a quiet room in order for us to get our work done, this was tedious and annoying but I learnt a surprising amount from trial and error and watching maddy save the day (thank you again maddy you saaaaved our lives).
We got to the hotel early to find that only dennis was there, we toyed with he thought of waiting for the others so they could add their opinions on what we had produced over a coffee and biscuit then came to the conclusion that to wait for them would be an incredible waste of time so decided to crack on with fiddly and time consuming issues such as audio syncing, titles, backfround music and transitions. Everyone else in the group arrived 2 hours later than they had originally said they were going to, which actually, although rather annoying at the time, allowed us to have a more focused view point of the end product and allowed us a little unstressed time for tweaking.
We finished the documentary in what I would happily say was record time but again, encountered a number of technical issues which pushed our finish time back at least 2 hours. The first problem we faced was that for some unknown reason the material from the flip cam worked but as soon as we unplugged it, one of those pop up warning boxes that everyone loves popped up telling us that the files were pending; we decided to do as the ostrich do in this instance and stick our head in the metaphorical sand until maddy came to the rescue, cape and all! We then encountered sound issues as the soundtrack the participants wanted was quite loud and davids VO was quite quiet; here we spent a considerable amount of time playing with audio levels and track highlights until the footage made audible sense. Exporting then took up a large chunk of the day because none of us actually knew how to, again maddy came over to save the day along with sir roderick and collectively we managed to export it and uploadit to YouTube… Wrong might I add which then resulted in a blurry end product and a black border around the on screen image. All in all I have been incredibly impressed with the amount of work everyone has done on both sides, we all pulled together as a community to help eachother and had fun in the process; we have made new rafiki’s during our three short but packed days and.im proud of what we have achieved.
Last night was excellent in many ways as we laughed and drank and drank some more.. we had entertainment from sonja and rod while they drank a little more than the rest of us and watched as chaz taught/showed rod the correct way to dance to tina turner. There was much hilarity while we enjoyed our second day in sunny kenya.
Today began in one of the worst ways imaginable with about 30 different alarms before 12 o’clock; a slight exaggeration but a fair comment, it was however was made considerably better by the delicious appearance of morning sausages… sausages always un-grump the morning! After our breakfast in the sun we made our way to the UN to start our facilitating workshops where we encountered a number of obstacles that could have made the day a write off but we pulled together as a group and made the most of the situation; and it all turned out well in the end! The first obstacle we faced was the lack of equipment, while it was nice and safe on peters bed it was no use to us there and we were all a little disheartened to learn that our yesterday plans had all been for nothing… again another exaggeration but at the time in the tired and daunting heat thats how it felt. We did however overcome this issue by a simple re-jig of the schedule and the world was not over, if anything it was a welcomed challenge that we all faced with optimism and enthusiasm! The next obstacle we faced was that the lovely willis had not told us the part when he found out that only half of the people meant to turn up to the workshops were going to be there; probably an innocent mistake but it would have been helpful for us to know as again we had planned for atleast double the turn out. This was however another potential blessing in disguise as it allowed for smaller and more focused groups with 5 participants and 5 supposed experts in each group.
After what seemed like a lifetime of mind mapping, our indecisive group chose the subject of cultural diversity in relation to marriage to focus on and we decided that we would highlight the effects intercultural marriage has on peace in Kenya. This idea was then taken off the cards as willis had specific topics in mind for us to cover; thankfully we managed to keep our original chosen topic as willis wanted us to focus on interfaith, which was then changed to intercultural differences as none of the group could quite grasp the importance of making a film to raise awareness of a subject area such as interfaith as there are more important issues to tackle. After some more mind map faffing we introduced the equipment to the participants and asked them to show us what they had leant from us; this went better than I had originally expected as they took in all of the information really quickly (which was quite a lot might I add) and were enthusiastic about learning what we had to give. After some really effective storyboarding where the participants had some really good suggestions about what to include in the video it was almost time to leave so we thought we would introduce b-roll to them before we parted ways and have a go at filming what they thought would be visually engaging and relevant to the topic.
We said our goodbyes after our jam packed day of community based learning and headed off to the market for some relaxing shopping….. that actually made me laugh as I wrote it! The massai market was quite literally a dream come true for my magpie self with all the colours and shiney things for me to look at, and im pretty sure I could have spent the entire trip there if it wasnt for the understandably needy sales people. There were people everywhere all ‘up in my grill’ trying to sell me their pretty things for actually a reasonable price but with a lack of funds and sleepy eyes it was time to escape to frozen yoghurt and a long ride back to base camp!
Now its time to wait for a beverage that im pretty sure isnt going to turn up, but im ok with it because im in kenya!!
After a 12 hour overnight, sleep deprived group moan in Zurich and some delicious plane food and entertainment, we finally arrived in Kenya yesterday evening! We spent the night recovering from copious amounts of sitting with some more sitting but this time with beer; we drank and laughed until around 12ish then filtered of to our bunk beds gradually after around 5 plates of chips.
After a much needed sleep we leisurely got up this morning to some equally as much needed sausages and coffee then started our ‘what are we doing’ day. We planned our plan of action for the next three days and went through what we are going to cover with each other so we are all on the same page; this was then broken up by a brief hoop in the sun and a failed attempt at juggling, followed by a run through of our plans with peter, a trip to the local supermarket for some delicious nessecaries and here we are, sat in the sun finalizing our tomorrow plans. Tomorrow should be good!
Finally made it onto the Word Press site on the day we leave!
Everyone has done such excellent work to make this trip a reality and im ever so excited to set of on our adventure! Eeek in the not too distant future we will all be in Kenya!