Thank you Kenya and CM4K

Hey guys, well I write you from the cosiness of my own bedroom. My bedroom seems like it is the size of an entire Kenyan house. Being back in the UK is quite extraordinary, we have travelled so much over the last 24 hours. Finally made it, Brighton, it seems as if a couple shops have opened up and some house have had a fresh coat of paint. Time ticks along even when one is not around.

DSCF9472.jpgAnyway, the last couple of days, we spent time in the Maasai Mara which was absolutely stunning. It is an area near Rift valley (birth of human kind) that is government owned, but highly managed, controlled and inhabited by the Maasai. I have no photographs of them because they don’t want to have their photo taken just for the sake of entertainment or capturing some strange dress code. Fair enough… Just to give you an idea, the Maasai wear bright orange and blue patterned cloth, lots of beads and stretch their earlobes. They live in this beautiful plain, with their cattle, elephants, giraffes, zebras and lions. No fear. These guys are fearless, the lions fear the Maasai. I often saw the Maassai in bright orange cloth walking across vast green plain. I have a lot of respect for this tribe, they seemed to be uninterested in material wealth which is what we chase in the west. The Maasai seemed to be self-sustaining and living in harmony with their environment. I am not suggesting that everybody should give up their life and go join the Maasai in the Mara. However, I do think that we can learn a great deal from people living like this. They have their head screwed on in a lot of ways that we (the west) don’t.

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Finally, I just wanted to say a big thank you to the whole CM4k crew which made the experience wonderful (the ones who came to Kenya and those who couldn’t). I had a fantastic experience that I am currently digesting (literally…i have a bad stomach). I am so happy that I could be part of this experience and build solid friendship while experiencing a foreign culture ! ASANTE SANA DSCF9415.JPG

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Rongo, editting, session 2

So we have gathered pretty much all our data now. It has been a totally different experience than at KU, but still a fantastic one. Our audio team is such a hard working team and they seem to like editting which is a good thing. Everybody is getting stuck in. Today, I taught some students how to clear up a track and a basic steps of how to organise the editting process as it can be overwhelming. I mainly assisted students who needed help and worked on making a plan for our podcast so our ideas could flow. The structure is absolutely vital in order to have an idea of where the show is going. We have selected our hosts and they have been practicing the voice over. We can use th jingle we made at KU since it was fun and funky. Spreading responsibility across the team worked well, this enabled each person focus on their task and learn as they were doing the editting. Sometimes, I can get a big impatient as I just want to get the task done, but I refrain myself, and slowly guide the learner step by step until the job is completed. It is really rewarding when the student feels happy and smiles, when they have finally completed their task. That is  the best reward !  
   

   

Getting to grips with Kenyan culture

When travelling I appreciate the differences. I like to observe, participate and learn about different modes of living. There are so many different ways of doing things and I believe that travelling is a wonderful way to expands ones horizon and to questions ones own habit. Cultural diversity is precious and enriching. For example, women and men carrying bags in their heads, the Kenyan approach to time, respect for the elders and especially the mother, and the open way of reaching out  to one another. I feel like in the last week or so, I am finally getting to grips with the Kenyan game. I am getting an idea of the unspoken social rules going around. I still have so much to learn. But the flavour of Kenyan culture that I have tasted so far, including the delicious fruits makes me want to come back to gain a deeper understanding of Kenya. With the connection I have made through the CM4K expereience, I hope that I will be able return here to pursue my learning out here, maybe not academically but personal growth and development. I am so happy that I am part of CM4K.  

  

 

Researching tribal cultures

today we went to visit a Luo community to collect media information about this community in order to produce represententional knowledge about this community. This encounter was meaningful and powerful,. I let.like I was in a national geographic scenario. The colours, the sounds, the music and staring face create a powerful ambiance. The woman were screaming and the men were hunting and singing.  Each dance were scenario, and rituals performed after an elder died, or a marriage and so forth. The energy was contagious and I felt stimulated by their energy. The local community seemed to be happy that we had come to see their performance. To me this interaction was meaningful and I felt I had t he responsibility to document this cultural dance, without stereotyping their culture. I was trying to records sounds which were atmospheric and which represent the meaning of the dance to this community. I hope that we can work with these recording and enable the listeners to feel touched by the sounds, without any visual purely the sound…  

 

Travelling up the country

today I spent about 8 hours on a blue and golden bus crossing Kenya. We went across hills and rift valleys (the place of birth of man kind , so they say) , and I saw beautiful landscapes. Getting out of the city was a nice way to compare the different ways of life living not so far from one another. Although I did not stop very often and get out to walk around and the see the villages, I got a quick feel for them as we slowly drive through. Most villagers would stop and after to check us out. I must admit in this situation I did feel like a tourist just zooming through all these different villages. The villagers interacted with me in this way, as well by trying to seek me locally handmade and knick knacks. I no longer felt like I was a community partner, only a white girl visiting Kenyan to buy bracelets and take photos of lions. that was not my motivation for going to kenya, but this idea of the western rich tourist was mapped onto my body due to the color of my skin. I don’t like this idea of capitalist western tourist, it bothers me and makes me feel uncomfortable with my culture and interaction with locals.  This is not my idea of travelling and exploring is about…, 

First day in Rongo

we arrive in rongo late in the evening, the table was set with beautiful table cloth and students greeted us as soon as we got off the bus. The campus is fresh and lush with flowering trees and flowers. It is much smaller than KU but has its own charm. Today, Peter introduced the concept of community media and community based learning to the rongo students so they knew what they were signing uproar. Jerry explained to us the topic that he wanted us to document and research in each media project. We re exploring the Luo tribal culture, specifically the dance and its meaning. We are going to explore how this dance is fitting int he broader culture of modernisation and globalisation. Through interview we explore the perception and understanding  of the dance by the children and the elders.  By interviewing different generation we will be able to grasp how traditions are evolving within the globalised world and the Luo culture feelings as regards these potential changes. Each of the media text (video,audio,photography) will be a form of exploration and research to attemp to historically document and understand the Luo culture.  Once again, I am on back on the audio team with Keji and Lana. 

Exhibition in nairobie 

We had the exhibition on today, we showed all the work the diverse groups made over the last couple of days. We had the photography exihibition on joy and happiness, the video drama and documentary on tribalism  and our podcast on food and hygiene. All the projects represented issues raised by the community. The Kenyan students raised theses topics and we collaborated together on how we could use media technologies to inform the rest of the community about these issues and potentially offer  

 solutions on how to tackle them. 

I am impressed by how I was able to connect with the Kenyan students over just a couple days. We went from strangers to friends by working together on a meaningful project. The connection produced by teaming up to work towards a common goal really fostered a strong bond amongst us which I am really impressed by this. To me, this proves that when individual work together towards a common goal produces sense of community to attempt to deal with challenges experienced by the community. To me this is the beginning of the path  towards sustainability. 
 (Photograph of Nairobi traffic)

Last day at KU

wow, how time flies by. We are our last day at KU and this is the big day for editting. I have basic skills doing this, I hand to train everybody else to know how to use Audacity. Being able to explain how to use audacity has a good way to learn in more depth how to use the software. It was challenging to work in room where there was a lot of noise. We had two computers to work on and 8 Of us to work on editing which was too many. We have use an informative and comical tone for our show. I noticed the  

 importance to speak clearly and avoid repetition when talking in the recorder as it just adds much more work for editting. The structure of the radionshow was underpinned by four main points that we fit in an order that was interesting for the audience. It is interesting to work produce something on behalf of the audience which must grasp their attention. I think one of the key challenges in audio dealing just sound to grasp ones attention as opposed to visual methods which seem to require less ‘concentration’ for the audience. So it is vital to make it worthwhile for the audience to listen to the podcast. 

CM4K voice of the community

today, I would like to share my experience working in the recording studio at Kenyatta university. We are a team of 7 and we have really bonded over the last couple days. We have been brainstorming and have decided to address the issue of the health and hygiene in the community of KM. KM is a local market used by students for their food, shopping, photocopy… All of these businesses have popped up just for the university and are out of business when university is closed. These are temporary businesses. 

For making our show we brainstormed key theme to explore, collected interviews with students going to the market and a student studying food and nutrition to gain expert knowledge. We recorded our introduction, voice overs , ads and catch phrases. This has been a great experience and has given me insight on all the nitty gritty cogs involved in making a radio show. I have reflected upon the necessity to keep a captivating voice and humour in order to keep the audience listening. Making a radio show has taught me how to present audio information in a fun, simple, clear, coherent manner. 

Working in team has successful and I have made really good friends. We had fun, and raised an important issue in the local community. This project has also created a community within our group which is the best of rewards !  

   

Getting stuck in

the days are moving along and it is strange how time seems to have slowed down. Being away from my everyday life and western life makes me rejoice ! I feel like being out int the ‘real’ world and it is so much more real than simply reading about the world in a textbook. Experiencing the African way of life with the food, the people, the rhythm of life and community living has really made me grow. Although I still have so much to learn from Kenya, being here only a couple days has opened my eyes. I guess the main thing I have been thinking about and I have discussed with a Kenyan friend is our direction of life. The ideals that we have about what we want our lives to be like. We both have the same aspiration as to have a happy life but different paths to achieve this. We both agreed on the necessity of basic material wealth to meet needs, but I feel like in the west this a priority over actual, real, happiness. My friend seemed to explain that s long as your have food, family and you do something you love.. What else could you want? It is interesting and I think vital to reflect in our relation with money and happiness in a the world of new-neoberalism. How far does money actually enable well being? This questions seems particularly relevant for a developing country trying to catch up with the world economy. 

   

 

This is a photograph over layered with some drawings of the road site in Nairobie