RONGO 2 AND 3

RONGO WORKSHOPS.

Day 1.

Groups were allocated today which meant our group didn’t get the workshop they wanted. Charlie took charge and we eventually headed out to a Sugar Cane farm to interview the owners.

We got there, and it looked like a scene from Harry Potter (no shame) the Weasleys house surrounded by fields of crops.. We walked through to some tin shacks and found the owner who seemed uncomfortable to talk to us, but then his aunt came out of literally thin air and gave us a much more indepth interview, of which I cant tell you about as it was entirely in another language.

Regardless,  while the interview was going on I was heavily distracted by almost being killed by a dog and then I saw TINY PUPPIES . TINY. TINY. PUPPIES.
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We gave the sugar farm some money so they could buy soap and water and in return they ripped up some sugar cane from the ground and gave it to us.

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Our group decided to just get on with the work we set them and began translating and giving voiceovers.

Day 2/3

We headed to a local school where they showed us traditional Loar singing and dancing. I really really enjoyed this and the history behind it.

The boys sung a song about a musician who lost the love of his life and was singing to get her back.
The girls sung a song about a woman whose lost her husband to another woman but she doesn’t care and sings about how the other woman can have him because he’s no good.

This day was spent complaining and being heavily unorganised. Eventually we decided the Rongo students should concentrate on Sugar Cane Farming and the three Brighton students will make a video on the school.

I think it all ended pretty well, all the groups did an amazing job and the videos/audio were all so much better than Kenyatta

RONGO

It’s  currently 7.21 in the morning (4.22am English time) and I’m sitting in a nunnery listening to birds and distant speaking. I’ve gotten so used to hearing everyone talking and laughing in the morning this is unusual…

I feel like a mix between Whoopy Gholdberg and Julie Andrews only I’m not in a light hearted family musical set in America/Austria, I’m in Rongo, Kenya and I’m tired and couldn’t find the button to turn on the boiler so I could have a warm shower. I had a cold shower and then realised the button was above my head, out of my reach.

Unlike Julie Andrews the hillls here are not alive with the sound of music. More so, they are alive with the sound of crickets, goats and the boys screaming about caterpillars.

Our coach journey here took around 9 hours, that’s longer than our entire flight (including layovers) from Heathrow to Nairobi. Our plane had films,T.V shows, games, food, drinks,  blankets and pillows. Our coach had minor concussion from smacking your head off the windows if we were on a dirt road and you weren’t paying attention.

Today after breakfast, we head to the university  to start workshops. 🙂

CM4K  QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You have prickely heat because it’s hot and you’re  a prick”

Day 7. Ruaraka.

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Stories from our cities.

Initially I expected that our exhibition of photos would be in a hall where people could walk in and out of their own free will, I could not of been more wrong. Ruaraka was the biggest culture shock I’ve had so far.

We arrived in a VERY poor part of the city, it was (I think) basically a slum. We set up by  an intersection and there was music and all our photos up on a wall.

Immediately we were surrounded by curious locals and children, which was fun. An hour or so later things started to get a bit serious when local Adults began to approach us and ask us what we were doing and begging us to help them. One particular man told me and Alex that our photos were not helping and they were still suffering, this is where I started to feel like we shouldn’t be there. thought that to show up as we did and not actively help but show photos of where we’re from was almost like rubbing it in their faces, we all got a bit upset and started to feel harassed as locals began to approach us as soon as one of us was on our own.

One of the worst things I think is rock up to an African slum with nice clothes,  very expensive camera equipment and immediately go and buy coke and stand around drinking it TRYING to ignore children as they beg you for some. It was awful.A couple of times I could people trying to get into my back pockets and opening my bag zips, stressful!

Later on while attempting to wander back to the group a woman grabbed me and asked me what we were doing, when I told her about the photos 3 other woman appeared and began to all talk at me at the same time asking why we were comparing cultures when there is absolutely no comparison, they needed help.

We left ASAP and got taken to our bus drivers house, this is where probably  the worst part happened. On first impressions as usual we were surrounded by locals welcoming us to their community, we went into a block of flats and saw victors house and then left. At this point a woman appeared and grabbed me and attempted to lead me into an alleyway and told me she was “angry” but actually I was wrong and she was saying “im hungry” regardless I was absolutely terrified but thankfully Alex saw and rescued me (forever the hero) and we all got in the van, where local women started to try and get in and ask us for help, telling us they’d ‘Lost a Woman’ and were suffering, we all got a bit upset and anxious as we had nowhere to go and were trapped in the van.

Pete arrived and hastily shut the door and we drove off to get stuck in traffic for 3 hours as Kenyan drivers do not understand the concept of LANES.

The day ended with more upset as when I got home I realised for the second time that my ‘tan line’ was actually just dirt from the dusty roads.

NO JOKES TODAY GUYS, STUFF GOT VERY CEREAL. SO CEREAL.

CM4K QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Do you work?” (Southy, A: 2015)
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DAY FIVE AND SIX. FINAL WORKSHOP&RUIRUI

Apologies fort late blogs, no internet until 30 seconds ago;

Today was our last workshop, running late, starting late and everyone generally being late did not make it a good start.

Initially me and Charlie thought that our group understood the task at hand and we were confident about the interviews shot and the final result as a whole. Unfortunately after an hour and a half our group was yet to even open the editing programme. We left for a break , came back and we were presented with  a 30 second clip accompanied by Ed Sheeran – Lego house as a ‘soundtrack’ .  We told them the video was to be about a community media centre and to include the interviews..and when they weren’t looking deleted Ed Sheeran.  2 hours later me and Charlie were panicing- hastily editing our own video as our group had decided to stop everything in order to re-name every single individual video file and I could still hear Ed Sheeran, thanks for that Ed.

Later on we realised our group had decided to abandon us, and had made someone else we hadnt in the 3 days we’d been there edit their video for them…We ended up presenting two separate videos.
It was a very frustrating day, but both videos kind of worked well together and we managed to get through it and NOT laugh when the Sheeran montage happened.

On a plus note every single person was absolutely lovely and we’ve all added each other  on  facebook, we’ve made some friends for life here J

I HATE Ed Sheeran.

CM4K QUOTE OF THE DAY

“they should put cars on tracks…oh, wait that’s called a train”

24TH JANUARY.

Today we travelled to Focus initiative in Rerue for Japata day! Focus Initative is in some ways a youth club/school/day time orphanage for the local village kids. They get fed there once a day and can have somewhere safe to be and learn, grow and make friends.  This was quite a contrast from the orphanage we saw the other day, friendlier and a nicer atmosphere

The kids (like the ones from the orphanage in Ngong) were so thrilled to play with our cameras, they were photographing, filming and begging us to take photos of them.  Genuinely having so much fun and we were afraid we were going to have to give our (potential) degrees to them.

We spent the morning being taught how to make Japatas in a VERY HOT and cramped kitchen, as usual everyone was so welcoming and friendly, especially Chris and his GORGEOUS daughter:

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Before dinner we all went outside the gate and played some traditional African ice breakers in a HUGE circle, there was dancing and a lot of singing.

The food  (when ready, Kenyan time) looked and smelt so nice but unfortunately for some reason someone decided to show me the goat they were about to slaughter for dinner…I only asked him to unwrap my lollypop (I couldn’t do it) and what I got was  “Ill show you something cool” and I was excited but the harsh gritty reality was a soon-to-be-dead-goat.

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My absolute favourite part was putting on music in the classroom and dancing with everyone. Someone tried to teach us how to dougie. It didn’t go well.

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DAY 4. ORPHANAGE AND SUNSET

Today was a random one. Hoisted onto the bus with our convinct bus driver Victor and his FANTASTIC taste in 80’s music we headed to Kenyatta, get some filming done, eat and then all go to Ngong together on a giant bus.

IMG_0214[1]This was the best journey by far, getting to know the students of Kenyatta and exchanging stories. Alongside this we also got to see some of the scenery and had our first glimpses of the poor-er areas.

We arrived at a place in Ngong that was a bit random. We were ushered off of the bus and into a place that was colourful, had a swimming pool and all kinds of music playing. One minute I was pointing at a chicken, the next I was sat in a heavily paper decorated room, with a man at the front giving a motivational speech half in English and Half in Swahili, this is where things got confusing. When he spoke in English I understood, then he switched to Swahili and back to English where the topic had changed and I was lost again. Regardless it was a surreal experience, especially when I realised there was music in the background which I’m 90% sure was Aqua on repeat with an added soundtrack of a baby laughing, a rooster and fair ground rides. You can’t make this up.

This ran quite late and as we approached the primary school all of the kids were filing out and going home. We were really upset we missed it, but by some luck 6 of us (Me, Dan, Miheala, Alex, Charlie and Boyana) got the chance to head to a childrens home, not many people are let in there or allowed to take photos, we were lucky. Our projects were based around poverty and the gap between the rich and poor so we headed off to ‘quickly’ interview the owners.

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We didn’t know what to expect but we were definitely lost for words and got a bit emotional. These children have been abused and abandoned and those at the Faraja children’s home strive to give them a better life, regardless of conditions. These kids were just happy to have a roof over their head and somewhere safe to be. Regardless of what awful things
have happened to them they still smiled and posed like mad for pictures, alongside absolutely going crazy when we gave
them our phones and cameras to play with.

IMG_0338[1]After that emotional journey and leaving the orphanage a thankyou note for their amazing opportunity and hospitality, we headed for gong hills with everyone to watch the sunrise, which was incredible. No photo could ever justify that view. No one could ever justify the madness of Bus drivers over here, the dedication to getting somewhere… an English bus driver would take one look at that road and hill to get to gong and be like “sod this im off for a pint”.

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CM4K QUOTE OF THE DAY
“ay you know your seats a chair right?” (Spencer, C. 2015)

DAY 3. KENYETTA UNIVERSITY

Firstly I’m going to start this blog with a picture of me and the BEST DJ in Kenya, DJ WISDOM.
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secondly, last night I also took over the role of Kenyas best DJ for exactly 40 seconds:

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When my alarm went off this morning at 6am I was hoping it was some kind of joke, it wasn’t. 6am isn’t a difficult time to get up at but we are three hours ahead so my body clock screamed “its 3am GO TO SLEEP”.

An awful start to the morning for me personally, I managed a bite out of a piece of bread before running to the bathroom to be sick constantly for about 10 minutes, always a pleasant experience.

Kenyetta is not a university, it is a town. It takes one hour to walk from one end of the campus to another!  Speaking to the students was an eye opener, these people are aware of how lucky they are to be at university and are so eager to learn, it makes you reflect on how spoilt you are. They commit to university 7 days a week, all day. Where as I complain about getting up at 8am for a FILM SCREENING.

Initially our group had a bit of a meltdown when we began; We felt like the students were dis-interested and were not listening to a single word we were saying. A particular group we were working with just seemed like they didn’t want to be there, but really they just didn’t understand the concept of the work at hand. The concept is to make a video about how a CMC can help an issue, in our case thats the gap between rich and the poor. The poor can seek help in the Community Media Centre and use the facilities and exchanges with other people to learn and gain experience and get a job.

This was lost in translation but after lunch we sat down with them and explained properly and they turned out to be probably the best group out of the other 2 in our Video workshop. We are going to produce the best video, just saying.  Im gonna add in some photos I took of me and Charlie’s group being the best 🙂
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AND NOW FOR THE TRIP HOME.

Was an absolute NIGHTMARE. Stuck in what was essentially a tiny can with wheels, in heat, in traffic, is never fun. We called the van the “banterbus” but that lasted for about an hour, the fun and games stopped 2 miles from home when our Bus driver, Victor (shout out VICTOR) essentially got arrested and we were left on the roadside, confused for about an hour.  He had his driving license taken off him and eventually had to bribe the police to get it back.

Tomorrow we’re headed to Ngong to work with primary school children and have our groups bring their video ideas to life, I’m really excited about this.

CM4K QUOTE OF THE DAY 
“a man dressed as a baby tried to sell  us CDs but we were like NO. non of this.”

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the banter bus aka an empty tin of beans. lacking banter after 3 and a half hours.

Arrival and First Full Day

Firstly by some miracle non of our suitcases were over the limit, which is something everyone should be impressed about.

The journey to Nairobi was hassle free, very long. But made shorter and much more fun courtesy of unlimited FREE alcohol on the plane. For future reference if anyone thinks getting drunk on the plane is a good idea, it is not.

We arrived safely, no one died 🙂 that much is obvious… statistics say that 99.9% of people who are clinically dead can not actively engage in communication, that includes blogs and posting selfies at every opportune moment. Authorities casually carry giant AK47s around, as tempted as I was to ask if I could have a go, I resisted.

The rest of the night passed without incident, , played pool, ate some French Fries and chicken nuggets (really getting stuck into traditional African Cuisine with that one) and then went to bed.

Tomorrow we are heading to Kenyetta university for our first workshop 🙂 so there should be lots more to say’1

CM4K QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We’re in Switzerland, look at that. Oh switzerland.” (Angastinioitis, M. 2015)