A Day of Resting at Lake Simbi

Once again it’s the weekend, which I’m extremely grateful for. This week, as challenging as it’s been, has absolutely flown by. Thankfully nobody was hungover after the drinks we had last night, and I for one, was ready for a nice relaxing day at Lake Simbi.

Having not been there before, I was not sure what to expect. From some of the descriptions I expected it to be quite a barren area with a few animal carcasses, whilst internally I was hoping for something similar to Rusinga Island. There was even a mention of flamingos sometimes flying there! I really was not sure what to expect. Once again, we all piled on to the big Rongo University bus and made our way to the lake. I think everyone was delighted that Isabelle had once again brought along Zerah and Amaya and, Hafsah in particular, was enthralled that Wendy was once again joined by little Geordie. I feel like today was going to be a really nice break from the hard work that we had all put in during the week.

The lake was a bit further on from Homa Bay, it took about an hour and a half in total. Whilst we were driving through Homa Bay, we noticed a lot of people gathering near the road. We were told that it was because of a political rally lead by (insert name here), the leader of the (insert name here) party, opposition of the current government. Halima was particularly excited for this, as they are the party that she supports. She had her head out of the window, waving her orange scarf (which I assume has something to do with the party’s colours) and shouting out a little chant in Swahili.

When we finally arrive, I step off the bus to see the lake. It’s big, but nowhere near the size of Lake Victoria. Mac tells us that its diameter is roughly 2km. It’s extremely hot and there is little shade as there weather there recently had been extremely dry, so there were not many leaves on the trees and the grass was a shade of light brown, rather than the vibrant green that Peter told us he experienced a few years back. We then gathered around a local man called James, who told us a story about how the lake was originally a village and was cursed by a woman who was treated poorly when she visited in a time of need. Mac kindly translated it from Luo to English so that we could understand it. Personally, I don’t believe the story but it was still interesting to experience the local folklore that surrounds the area.

After listening to the story, which lasted about 20 minutes, a few of us wondered down to the shore to get a closer look at the lake. Aron took my phone to film some of the activity around the lake as he planned to create a video based around Lake Simbi and the story that we were told. There was a lady collecting salt by the shore, apparently, it’s for feeding animals and seasoning vegetables. Mac collected some water in a bottle and held it up. It had a green tint to it which was fascinating! I then headed back towards the bus as I was getting a bit too hot and didn’t want to burn again. We then had lunch, I wasn’t feeling too hungry so I didn’t eat. It was then time to head back to the university.

After dinner we got a few beers – we intended to fill the crate that The Treat House normally gives us, but unfortunately we were two drinks short! We didn’t have a pub quiz this evening, but instead we all got our saved playlists up on our phones and everyone tried to guess the song that we were playing!

Tomorrow we are having a proper relaxing day, the girls are getting their hair done so I expect us lads will spend the day at the Treat House!

 

Goodnight!

 

Sam 🙂

Thursday 25/2018.

 

Yes!!! Today I will begin my blog on a low note. Have you ever boarded a vehicle to a place you do not know but you know there’s a task you have to do over there? That was the case with me and a few others today. The day started well as we assembled in the resource center after breakfast for equipment set up and collection. Peter emphasized on time keeping and strict adherence to our main objective.

We arrived at Cham Gi Wadu shopping centre at around 10:45 am, picked up Madam Jane (one of the community project steers) among other community members. It was at this point that I realized we were heading to Osiata Church to meet the church members. When we got there, there was nobody around but the word of Wazungu being around spread all over and we had several members turn up with higher expectations as their faces could indicate.

We had our work done in our respective groups with a lot of ease since there wasn’t much to cover. With the help of Angelica or my expert as I call her, we captured the establishment shots with a lot of keen as we didn’t want to experience lots of difficulties when editing as we faced yesterday. In about an hour we were done and we had to rush to the bus for our journey of Leng’o Secondary School after being informed that the road we were to use was muddy and impassable in case it rained while at the place.

We left the bus about 2 kilometers away and walked towards the school. Mr. Mark Ouma, our interpreter joked that we were to walk for 11 kilometers, a statement that was harshly received by members on the bus. Some came to agree with him after our experience of climbing the hill to the school. I must say that Leng’o Secondary students are all physically fit judging from the hard time most of us underwent to reach the School gate. I had to come help Halima’s reach our destination as Geoffrey Kioko looked exited on seeing our helpless Hafsah running low on gas.

Our final place was Cham Gi Wadu market. Since it was a market day, we had to take some footages on the business activities that would help in our Community Asset Mapping. We however experienced one major challenge at the beginning as most of the businessmen and women didn’t want us to record nor take pictures of their operations unless we gave them some appreciations in terms of cash. Despite all that, Fiona Maswai, Halima Roba and Aron managed to hold interviews with men and women at the market. We later headed back to school and be served with our nice refreshments as we reflected on the day’s activities.DSC_0131

 

Kassim Mohammed.

Day 11

Standard morning really woke up at 8 got the bus at 8:45. Ate breakfast, we haven’t seen Mama in a few days but we met one of her puppies today she’s just as friendly and approachable. People don’t have dogs as pets here and there’s this attitude that you have to be mean to the animals to show them who’s in charge but I find animals respond better to you and are more willing to protect you if you show them kindness. People keep telling us we will get bitten by the dogs but I’ve been here 10 days and I’m yet to have one even growl at me. You just have to be patient and soft and you gain their trust. I find the culture differences difficult to deal with at times but I must try to respect the culture and the community I’m surrounded by.

I’m finding that I’m feeling myself becoming more reserved as an individual. There are some wonderful people here but a lot of loud of characters. I’m a confident person but not particularly loud and I’m not sure if its coming off maybe that I am disinterested in getting to know everyone which is not the case. I will try to make more of an active step in joining in with the different groups and out myself out of my comfort zone a bit more.

Today has been a very academic day. I’ve been mainly reading academic texts and focussing on my CM4K final essay report which will highlight my experiences and findings in a 3000-word report. I’m not sure how I’m going to condense everything I’ve produced into 3000 words as I have already written over 15,000 words so far… we still have another week and a bit left!

The reports I read today were:

  1. Community based participatory research from the margin to the mainstream: are researchers prepared? By Carole R Horowitz, Mimsie Robinson and Sarena Seifer. 2009. Published by the American Heart Association.
  2. Glasgow centre for population health: Putting asset-based approaches into practice: identification, mobilisation and measurement of assets. By Jennifer McLean. 2012. Available at gcph.co.uk

I also spoke with Peter again today as I was worried about self-plagiarising with my report and my dissertation as they are both based around CM4K. He has agreed to keep an eye on my work so I avoid doing this and will show me how to reference myself in my own work. That seems really weird as I’m not a published theorist but apparently it is something you can do.

Something I have noticed is that even though we discuss the day’s work at the end of the day we do not always speak specifically about what we have all done as individuals. I will bring this up later as I would love to hear what everyone has been up to and working on. There is talk of getting beers from Treat House again tonight which sounds good to me! Can’t wait to just chill out with a cold tusker, hopefully Sam will read us more of his book The White Masai (Corrine Hoffman) and we can find out what happened next to Corrine.

26.01.2018 – Luca

I haven’t got a great deal to report on today I am afraid, but I shall start with last night!

When we arrived back at the accommodation, I spoke with Peter about when I had mentioned in my blog yesterday that I was worried the audio and video groups did not have enough time to edit. He spoke with those involved, and took my point on board so that today we had another day of editing, rather than fieldwork. It is a shame that we couldn’t go out and gather more content, however I think it is incredibly beneficial for us to have this additional edit time and I think that we all agree it is the best decision. The best time to do it is now, as even though it is an option to continue the work when we arrive back in England, the process will be longer as we all have our dissertations, work, and classes – so finding time over the next few months may prove troublesome. Also, it’s really great to be able to work with the Rongo students and receive their feedback.

At the University this morning I met the sweetest little pup, I think I have fallen in love! Angel named her Nancy, and she’s just so adorable. I haven’t seen Mama much, but we are pretty certain it’s one of her puppies. I’m a person that prefers animals over people (haha, I am an introvert at heart), so it’s very therapeutic to have a little downtime and relax with a companion, mind you I already feel sad that I’ll be leaving the dogs next week. Here is the photo of the little angel and I, she was falling asleep as I stroked her head. 🙂

27332357_1889419667753390_3916101182121500616_n

After that, I have just been finishing off my contributions, replying to comments on the discussion board, reading some Key Readings and gathering quotes for the assignment, and catching up with friends on my breaks. Me and Katie were talking earlier and are a bit concerned about our other classmates who couldn’t come to Kenya with us, as none of us have heard from them. I think that we’re going to reach out to them and see how they’re doing, we really do wish they were here but I understand that isn’t always a possibility. Still, I want everyone to do well on this module regardless and I’ll do what I can to help that happen. 🙂

I have found it quite hard to concentrate at times today, I sometimes get a bit of sensory overload and combat that by sticking my headphones in, though because only one of them is working I haven’t been able to do that successfully. But it’s a lot quieter now so it’s easier to concentrate. I think my brain is a bit frazzled though and I am ready for the weekend to rest a bit. As it’s Friday, we’re thinking of getting a few drinks later and Katie is working on another quiz for us, so that’ll be a lot of fun! Hopefully it’ll be easier than the last, because I am not exaggerating when I say I am bad at quizzes. 😛

For now though, I will bid you all a wonderful afternoon! Next update on Monday.

Luca. 😊

25th….its Thursday i cant help thinking of last month

I had an ugly morning I thought of not being a Chelsea fan and there i was … I had to have a good day  ..haha. To Peter’s lecture we had to divide ourselves into three groups that is audacity, videography and photography .

Being in the photography group for the first time and of course my second day learning from my experienced group members; Hafsa, Geoff and Japhet ….something is happening here I’m really getting through it well, getting eager to learn more from what i saw them trying to teach each other about manual photography.

It’s my second day onto fieldwork and I mean I am having a fantastic day! having perfected all my shots  with Hafsa and Geoffrey endorsing them, unknowingly for them they are really boosting my  confidence and I can’t be thankful enough for CM4K for bringing all this together for me to learn much about photography.

I am not really engaging but least for Geoffrey he has got a quick wit that makes me feel challenged and i am beginning to have a lot of confidence in me to engage everyone in the field. And to you Hafsa and Peter you mastered my name so fast i really don’t have the time to hide behind my friends in the field in fact i am beginning to be more active and resourceful. Thanks CM4K

Its Ann BTW!

 

A Very Difficult Day of Editing

As I mentioned yesterday, today was changed from a field day to an editing day as we felt that we wold not have enough time to fully complete our projects. I agree that this day was needed, especially for my video group, as we hadn’t even started the editing process yet! This still didn’t hide my disappointment for not returning to the Kopala Spring Water Project – it is in such a beautiful location and the members there are so lovely, I’d have loved for my fellow Brighton students to experience the area as well.

Once again, I must start by thanking the cooks for spoiling us once again. This time it was not eggy bread that we filled our stomachs with but instead pancakes – delicious! These familiar foods give me the comfort of England and therefore puts me in a good mood to being the day.

After breakfast, we were to begin editing, but first I had to wait for the rest of my group to come into university. By the time we were all united, it was gone 11am so we hastily began to go through all of the footage and audio that we had captured over the past week and sort them into relevant folders to make the editing process easier. Finding the video footage was easy enough as the thumbnails told us instantly which video was which. The real challenge was finding out which audio we needed to match the video. First and foremost, there are no thumbnails, so we have to manually listen to each file to discover if it is what we are looking for. To make things even harder, the Zoom creates a new folder for every file that is recorded – it seemed like we were having to go through hundreds of folders! Furthermore, Hafsah had planned to do a focus group for her dissertation this morning, which required Aron and Eve to participate and me to record it. That meant that Mercie was the only person left in our group and had to go through all of the audio on her own. She done a great job of it however, finding everything we needed and putting it all into named files, making it easier to find in the future.

The focus group was fascinating. Hafsah asked extremely engaging questions about their opinions of being black and black identity. I feel like I have a basic understanding of black identity through the way its depicted in western popular culture texts such as film and television. However, it was intriguing to learn about the opinions of a group of Kenyan students attending university in a rural area, with minimal exposure to these texts. Some topics were really debated with a lot of passion (and even a bit of heat at times). However, as interesting as this was, it ran for almost an hour and a half which massively ate into the time that we had planned to start our edit. Not to mention that I declined a chair, thinking that it would only last for 10-15 minutes – my legs were killing after! By the time that I had cleared away the camera and the rest of the equipment, it was coming up to 12:30pm. When I came back to the lecture room, neither Mercie nor her laptop were still there. It turned out that she had a class and wouldn’t be returning until after 1pm, limiting our editing time once again.

Finally we were all reunited, and started the edit. This threw a whole new set of problems at us. Firstly, the laptop didn’t work unless it was plugged in, meaning that we all had to crowd around a plug socket in the corner of the room. Then, it was discovered that Premiere Pro on the laptop did not feature the audio synchronize feature that I had expected, as it is on all of the Premiere Pro software that I have worked with before. This meant that I had to manually match the zoom audio with the video. To make things even harder for me, it was extremely laggy – the video played about 1 frame every 3 seconds! This meant that I couldn’t see if the lips were in sync with the audio which therefore resulted in me lining up the two audio clips perfectly so that they sounded like one when it was played. Did I mention that the headphone jack didn’t work and the audio was extremely quiet as well? In all honesty, it was the most difficult editing experience of my life to date, but I tried to keep patient and upbeat. I knew that days like today were always going to happen, both on this trip and in my life in general, especially if I want to pursue a career in video production in the future. If I want to become successful, I know I need to cope better with these types of situations in the future.

All moaning aside, we actually accomplished quite a lot today and I’m very happy with the work that we have done. We managed to cut down all of the interviews that we have filmed to date with the exception of those that are in Luo, but we plan to do this on Monday when Mac or Wendy is here.

Reading back through this blog, it has an extremely negative approach to it so I shall finish with something a lot lighter. This evening, as we know tomorrow as a rest day, we have had a few drinks. Katie kindly prepared another pub quiz for us. It was only two rounds this time (general knowledge and music), but still was an absolute blast! I won, which I am very proud of as I felt that I would really let myself down on the music round. A little later on we heard a frog croaking near the veranda, so we set off on a mission to find it. We narrowed it down to the flower bed that was next to the veranda and all peered in with our torches to see if we could sneak a peek at it. It was quite a tense few moments as we waited to see if it would jump out. The next sequence of events happened almost instantly. Katie made me jump and I farted – I was trying so hard to hold it in with fear of stinking everyone out! Everyone was in stitches for the next 5 minutes and I was so embarrassed!

Hopefully this story has lightened the mood to the end of this blog. I’m sorry that it has been very moany and would just like to clarify that I’m not blaming anybody for anything that I’ve highlighted today, I know that these things happen and are pretty much unavoidable. I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing Saturday tomorrow. Goodnight!

 

Sam 🙂

DAY 3: WORKSHOP

It’s finally Thursday, yeeey…LOL!!!!

After the activity that took place yesterday, running up and down playing the games my body was aching like crazy. I woke up feeling like losing the will to live, that’s how bad I was feeling though I had fun playing the games. So I woke up at around 7.00am prepared myself slowly the came to school where we always meet. I had breakfast which was very healthy and delicious shout out to mercy and her colleagues for making the best dishes for us. Truly appreciated.

At exactly 10.00am we assembled at the media resource center best known as (MRC) where Peter was to give a lecture on community radio. He gave a talk on tools to promote peace, culture, democracy and development in depth.  In the middle of the talk Peter told us to divide ourselves into three groups which we did, he gave us questions to discuss then present later. He mentioned something very important that,” from now hence forth we should forget that we are Rongo students and Brighton students”. We should work as one group aiming to achieve the same goal. That really made everything comfortable and it also gave us the opportunity to listen to what each one of us had to offer.

At around 2.00pm we went for lunch and again we had a very delicious meal. There were fresh fruits to finish the meal with which was very tasty. After that we relaxed a bit then came back for the second lecture. Which went on until around 5.00pm is when we finished. As we were waiting for dinner to be prepared we started talking to one another and catching up some were on their phones others were taking photos .At around 6,00pm dinner was served we enjoyed our chapattis and many other mouthwatering  meals. All thanks to mercy and her crew once again. After dinner we went to our hostels.

That’s all for today as always thanks for passing by my blog, see you on the next blog.

 

Cm4K THURSDAY 25/01/2018

 

We assembled at the media resource center at 10:30am and we got our equipment after breakfast. Some bottles of water were taken to the university’s bus for our own use. Boarding the university bus we set off for Osatia S.D.A (seventh day Adventists) Church. Getting to Chamgiwadu Shopping center we were joined by community members then went on with our journey. After a while, we got to a point where our vehicle could not move anymore and there we had to walk to the church, the walking was enjoyable. We got to the church where we found some members .Assuming to our roles we begun our work. Those who were taking photos went ahead with their work, those filming did the same thing while those doing interviews got to it. The community members were very happy to host us. Having done everything that we had planned to do we headed back to the vehicle. Reaching at the university bus we set off to Lang’o Arek Mixed Secondary School.

 

The place is so interior that we were forced to walk  for a distance up to the school. Going up the hill was not an easy task, with people sweating, complaining, others being assisted to go up the hill we finally got to the school. Reaching there some of our members had to rest for a while as they seemed so tired. The students were having their lunch and as for us we had to resume our roles once again. This took place very fast after which we started our walk back to the bus. Boarding the bus we set off for Chamgiwadu Shopping center again, this was a market day and we found them doing their general activities that they usually do during market day. They were selling and buying as usual though the clouds were threatening to pull out rain. The business people were wrapping up their products so fast that we could hardly carry out our roles efficiently and effectively, but all in all we had to carry out our roles and collect the required information.

 

Having successfully accomplished our tasks we now started our journey back to the university, but the day was not good for Katie who got stung by a bee. We came back to the university where we had some refreshments and snacks too. Then we got to our work of editing as we waited for dinner.

May Kimeu.

Wednesday-editting and reflecting

After spending Tuesday night drinking Kenyan Cane, I was woken up at 2.30am with a desperate need to be sick. By 8am Wednesday morning I woke up ready to take on the day with the memories of a rough Tuesday night left behind me, I was surprisingly in good spirit as though I hadn’t suffered the night before.

It was scheduled that Wednesday would be a day we spent editing all the footage we had gathered from Monday and Tuesdays fieldwork, which by this day all groups had a lot of work to put together. The day began as usual with us heading for breakfast and after that soaking up the sun before heading to the classroom. It was a slow process for me to start editing my work as I had blogs to catch up on and to try and upload, however the internet was not on my side that whole day.

With lots of footage to edit, Sam took all footages recorded on Monday from our first day at Cham gi Wadu and began editing them. I began editing footage from Tuesdays field work which consisted of the footages Kassim filmed of the Cham gi Wadu Divisional Office and its surrounding areas. Editing establishing shots isn’t a difficult task for me however once I had chosen the footages I had wanted to use, i found it difficult to use some of the footages as some of it seemed as though the camera operator was playing with camera, rather than taking a serious filming. Due to this I had to pick and chose precise shots which weren’t good enough to feature in the final video, through all the random zoom ins and outs and shaking.

I talked with the camera operator and asked him if he realised he was just playing with the camera which he had agreed he was as he didn’t know how to operate it and therefore had played with it whilst recording and didn’t capture serious shots. He was very honest in that he didn’t get shown how to use the camera, until we had moved to our second location, Kakwara Primary School, which I was asked by some members of the Cham gi Wadu to show them how to use the camera and I went through all the necessary in the process of gathering establishing shots. That was the moment he had learnt how to use the camera. This was unfortunate as he had potential to capture a large variety of shots rather than just 2 buildings. I also discussed with him that I could see what he was trying to capture in the videos, but he hadn’t picked up the tripod and physically place the camera in front of the building sign, however the camera in one location at all times and zoomed in and out therefore he didn’t have a variety of shots and scenery.

Using what I had I began pulling clips and creating a story with the shots suitable for the final edit. With Mae and Kassim beside me wanting to learn about iMovies the software I was using to edit the footages, I began explaining to them each step I was doing and why and Kassim told me he uses PremierPro which I would have preferred to use for editing but unfortunately I didn’t have access to it on my laptop so had to make do with what I had. It was nice to see they were both very eager to learn and I gave them both the opportunities to use IMovie and begin editing with me. I found it was much easier to edit on my own as I knew how I wanted all footages edited which I had ideas from the day of filming, and it was a quicker process as I knew how to use the software.

I did struggle to edit the footages from Cham gi Wadu as the shots provided were not a large variety and it was all the same with just 3 shots to use. After a long time of editing it and not denying I getting frustrated I moved onto edit all the shots from Kakwara Primary School. Putting the shots together was much easier for this as I was assigned to help Kassim with the filming go these establishing shots, therefore I would place the camera in different locations, say what shots I think would work best and what should be captured. Due to this we had a large variety of shots and scenery and during filming each footage I knew exactly what I had wanted to use in the final edit and how I wanted them edited.

Editing Kakwara Primary School was a much easier process and it was completed in just over an hour and it was saved and exported to Peter in the same day. I chose not to share the establishing shots at Cham gi Wadu as I wasn’t happy with what I had and felt it needed lots more work and needed more of my attention.

Over all, this day was needed because it avoided us having mountains of footage to edit at the end of the week especially ad it would be done by only one person, editing needed to be done in stages.

Second day out

After Monday being our first day out in the community, we spent that night discussing with Peter what we thought worked and didn’t work whilst in our groups. Come Tuesday it was nice to see all we had brought forward was taken in and lots of changes were ready to be made.

Before leaving for the community we got together in our individual groups to discuss new changes. My group and i went outside and sat on the grass and discussed new job changes, we felt it was best I worked with Kassim and Mae in gathering establishing shots and vignettes of the new locations we were going to. I was more than happy to work with them two as they were always willing to learn and our production process I knew would be a breeze. Sam too the time to teach the group who gather the interviews the proper way on how to use the boom mic as he had discovered when not accompanied by him they connect it wrong, therefore he went over with them on how to use it and switched the job roles between them; Eve was given the role of camera operator whereas Aron felt he wanted to hold the boom mic and Anne was given the device to monitor the sound which comes through the boom mic during interviews. I had a little fear the little meeting might seem like we were pointing fingers and others will get offended we had a discussion about them, but it wasn’t the case and everyone was on board with the change and on to improve and make jobs clearer and work faster than we all day on Monday.

Our first visit was to Ongo Health Centre which was a pleasant place to be and film in. Taking control of my group I gave them directions on what we should film and they gave advice back to me on establishing shots which should be gathered. Through out the entire filming at this location we worked faster and smoothly and there was no confusion with job roles like the day before. My group and I was left alone to gather our shots without the potential of others walking across the shot. Although I knew exactly what shots I wanted gathered I stepped back and allowed Mae and Kassim to take the camera to locations they felt was best and film their chosen shots, and when we needed each others helps and advice we were all on hand to give it.

Our last location we visited was the Kitere Primary School which is located next door to Rongo University. As soon as we entered the school we were greeted with a familiar face of the Chief who was more than happy to see our faces again. He introduced us to the school and the community members gathered for a meeting. Filming this introduction he wanted us Brighton students to introduce ourselves to the community members which wasn’t nerving but more of a surprise for me as I like to stay behind the camera and talking to people individually most of the time.

Going off with my group we started to gather our establishing shots, being as the school had more land space than buildings, I made the recording of the footages very niche as I didn’t want lots of footage of trees, land and seeing as a lot of us students were outside, I didn’t want to capture them into our footages, so I focussed on the school buildings.

Overall, I enjoyed this day a lot more than Monday because there was structure within the groups, and we all worked fast to get all we needed and to get back to the uni. 26238826_308524679668384_2716574462187228884_n