Day 13, 31st – Departure day

 

Today was the day I left the group and waved them off into the early morning sunrise, ok maybe a few hours after sunrise, but the sun was shining and they were leaving on a coach. I wont go on about my travels home, but instead I will reflect on the trip.

This trip has been the trip of a lifetime, I can safely say you will never get this many experiences crammed into such a short amount of time!

As I mentioned at the start of my blogs a few weeks ago, Kenya and its people have blown me away! The energy of this amazing country is something that everyone should feel! This country should not be overlooked, it terms of this position in Africa and the world! I feel that the country no longer needs just aid or even services from other nations, yet this country needs to offer its services and its people’s knowledge! I feel Kenya may not know it yet, but it has a lot to offer, more than just minerals and tourism, but its culture of rich diversity, kindness and passion! Ok, I could win honorary citizenship if the president read this blog, but what’s the point in seeing the negative, which may I add is so often mentioned when talking about Kenya and its continent. I will be back to Kenya as soon as I can, hopefully to carry on this wonderful work, of shared knowledge, communication and development.

Moreover, I would like to thank all the different institution’s, charities and individual’s that we have worked with over the last few weeks! If it were not for their generosity and willingness this trip would not have been the same!

Finally, it comes without mention that this trip would not have been possible if it was not for our teacher DR. Peter Day. Moreover this shared experience that has integrated two Kenyan Universities, local charities, the Kenyan National Youth Council and the University of Brighton would not have been possible without the effort put in by Peter. I sure I can speak on behalf of all those listed above and past students from this course in thanking you for all your work. Again I’m not looking for honorary citizenship or in this case a degree, but I’m sure everyone would agree with me that your effort is next to none.

Spencer Curtin – 2015.

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Day 12, 30th – Final Day

 

This morning after breakfast, the group got straight into editing the photos into a digital story. After the group got settled, I headed to another room to revise. Most of the day was spent popping in and out of the room. Around 2pm the group had completed the project, so had time to relax and chat about each other’s lives. Late afternoon, all the groups showed their projects, it’s so nice to see how as a collective group all our work liked, not just through the themes, but media. Later in the evening we said our goodbyes and exchanged Facebook’s, emails etc. it was sad that the trip had come to an end! However its was not a ‘goodbye’ but instead a ‘till next time’!

 

Day 11, 29th

 

Today we arrived at Rongo University, very excited to see our friends. After breakfast we got straight into planning the day. We already knew that we were going to the local school at lunchtime, so we just planned how best to share the cameras and take photos. After a slight delay (which in Kenya is a common thing) we headed to the local school. It was delightful to see the children ready to perform their culture. The singing and dancing was beautiful, the students took some really great photos and really took onboard the theme. After an hour of playing with the children and getting them hyper on sweets, we left for lunch. In the afternoon we looked over the photos and the group ran a photoshop lesson, during this afternoon I went off with other students to revise for a coming exam. I did pop in to see the group a few times and check on the project, safe to say the where fine without me.

Day 10, 28th

 

Today we left our accommodation at 8.30am we headed to Rongo for breakfast; afterwards we went to the practical media rooms and met our cohorts. It was far more relaxed this time, maybe because we knew what we had ourselves in for, or maybe just because Rongo has such a calm atmosphere. Firstly, we introduced ourselves to each other; we then started talking about each other’s skills within photography. We decided to leave the room and get ‘hands on’ the cameras. We felt a good way to keep the atmosphere relaxed, would be to use each other as models, this released any tension and made the day far more fun. After lunch, as a group we decided on a theme for the next days shoot. The theme was about how local school children from the luo tribe are keeping their culture alive through singing and dance. Moreover, as we had covered the basics of photography by lunchtime, we decided to set another theme for the afternoon. The students told us about a local gold mine and how the men and women of the community were getting exploited by buyers who pay them so little. We felt this liked to our core value of community. The gold mine was amazing, it was said to see such basic conditions for the community would work seven days a week, digging and panning for gold. As a group we felt we could create a digital story of photographs, the students followed the process of digging, to washing the gold. It was a great experience to witness and I felt it set us up for the next day.

Day 9, 27th

 

Today we headed to Rongo University College. It took around 9hours by coach. The trip was broken up by a few stops, one being the rift valley; it is said that the first human bones were excavated here, this was deferentially the highlight of my day. We arrived at Rongo around 8pm. We were greeted by a candle lit dinner! The university grounds are amazing, in a way a small version of Kenyatta University. After dinner we headed to our accommodation, which are small en-suite rooms with doors onto a shared courtyard.

 

Day 8, 26th

Today, we were meant to revisit our partners in Ruaraka, however as we have learnt on this trip, Kenyan traffic does not work in anyone’s favor. Our driver, Victor, got stuck for 2hours and unfortunately we had to cancel our day. Though I have learnt that we will Skype to review and discus own experiences once back in the UK.

Tomorrow we will head to Rongo, which is over an 7 hour drive, we are all chilling, doing work and packing for the trip tomorrow.

Day 7, 25th

Today we headed to Ruaraka for stories of our cities project and collaboration with a group of local film makers/photographers. The project is an ongoing project from 2nd year at university. We showed our photos to the local community, a township in Ruaraka, it was very enjoyable to see the photos of their community and our side by side, seeing the similarities and differences.

Today was located in a township area. It was hard to see such basic living. However the people had so much lust for their community, even though one can not hide that fact their was poverty, the people made it easier to enjoy the day! Their stories from their photos reinforced this notion of passion that is so evident in Kenyan culture. I envy this for not just myself but my community in Brighton.

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Day 6, 24th

Today we headed to Ruriru to Focus Youth Initiative, a day orphanage for a chapatti day. We collaborated with Zetech University to photo and film the community. We got to learn how to make/cook a chapatti, which was so fun!

I have never been so happy, the children made the day so special; it was so hard not to get upset. Today was a day I will never forget!

As I have noted before; the people give of so much happiness, however simple some of their life’s are. The modest fact that the children share everything they have is an example of how this community cares and loves for one another!

The people are content and I think this is what we should all strive for!

I will return to Focus one day, this is a promise, the staff, children and local community are special and I will always hold a place for them in my heart!

 

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Day 5, 23rd

Today we headed back to university, we meet our groups and started looking through over 3000 photos, we then selected 300, then down to 35. We then created a Photoshop workshop; we had to laptops out and ran through the basics. We then had lunch and started looking at how we would present the photos. We decided to put the photos on a PowerPoint with a black background. Our Kenyan students selected some local tribal music to accompany the presentation. We then watched the other groups presentations, ours and then listened to goodbye speeches. It was so sad to say goodbye to the friends we made! This trip is so amazing!

Thoughts on Kenya; I have never come across such loving, kind and passionate people! The energy that the students give off really drives me to become more avid to my work and day-to-day life! I love this country, its people and I am sure I will return to work with these people again.

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Day 4, 22nd

Today we went back to Kenyatta University and met our groups. We went to conduct our test shoots, my group went to an outside dance room, we watched an amazing dance routine, and it allowed the group a chance to photograph motion and then stills through portraits. We then went back to look through each others photos, we complemented and then recommended ways to make the photos better, this was useful before we headed out on shoot. We all got a coach together and headed to Ngong, on the coach all students mixed and learnt more about each others life’s, in and out of university, the journey took around 1 ½ hours. Firstly we arrived at a local police station, we meet the local county commissioner and he gave a speech to welcome us to Ngong. We then headed to visit Professor Walla, Kenya’s greatest children’s author; an expert in Swahili based books. I felt this part of the day went on to long and took away from the time we had to shoot. We quickly proceed to Ngong township school, a school of over 2000 students and only 37 teachers. Half the group went to shoot at an orphanage up the road. Myself and the rest of the group stayed to listen to the head teacher. We spoke about the troubles the school faced and the ways a community center can help the local area. My group then went and photographed a teacher in her classroom, she showed us around the school, it was very sad to she such basic rooms. What shone out was the teachers passion to help better their school and community. We regrouped and headed to Ngong hills for photos. The whole area is stunning; it has been the best day so far!

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