After leaving the hostel an hour later than scheduled once again we arrived to have breakfast an hour late and thus, surprise surprise, we left and hour late for hour meeting with the governor. The fact that we had already been running behind schedule did not seem to bother Jerry in the slightest as he attended two more last minute meetings as we waited in the bus. By that time it was nearly 11 and we were meant to have been at the governors office by ten with still an hours travel to go. Once we arrived at the governors office CM4K waited outside his office along side the Rongo students only to be told 20 minutes later that the Governor was in Nairobi. Whilst this all seemed very unorganised, a last minute meeting with the deputy governor was still arranged and our group of around 30 students and 5+ lectures headed to his office. The meeting was interesting however as you could see the pride in the members of Migori council had about their area. After the talk started by a funny professor, encouraging us Muzongo ladies to get married to a handsome Kenyan like him, various members of both their party and ours continued promoting their ideas. Once the meeting had finished we returned for lunch and then finally to start the editing process, the actual reason we are here. The editing process worked out better than expected as Rod, the good soul, put everything in order during our waiting period in the morning. We finished the rough cut as dinner was ready but thus had to continue the editing the next day. Today Kenyan pride was reinforced, as were issues in their local community like their lack of resources to communicate these issues and also the fact that timing and organisation are not a Kenyan forte.
The second day at Rongo was unfortunately not as productive as the first on terms of our project. As the previous day we were supposed to leave at 8 but only left at around 830, arrived at the college and had an extensive breakfast. We then waited for our interviewee to arrive she however did not turn up until after we’ve visited the gold mine close to the university. This was extremely interesting as we look at gold and see it as a sign of wealth and a connotation of glamourousness, but the people who mine it live very simple lives unlike the people who invest in gold. A lack of education became evident again as well as the mining process involved repeatedly mixing the ground stones with bare hands in mercury which is very harmful to the health. It may not even be a lack of education but a lack of option so that people have to resort to gold mining to make ends meet. Fortunately the other video group focused their documentary on gold mining and the effects of this on the community and its members. I felt terrible just wondering around on their property, observing them and taking pictures. It didn’t really feel like we were doing community work but more like we were just intruding the community member’s personal space. Once we returned we faced a number of technical problems as there is only one computer at Rongo and we could thus not edit as the other video group was using Peters laptop. We attempted to entertain our group with other means like filming B-roll however they seemed extremely unenthused by that point in the day.
The last 2 days have been eventful and involved us travelling far and long. After leaving Nairobi early(ish) to get to Rongo via Londiani we arrived at Kingsway primary school at around midday to film a quick video promoting the issues they are facing. Whilst our welcome was truly endearing and the children’s excitement was heartwarming it was also sad as we were told it was one of the best boarding schools in the district and had neither running water or electricity. The reason this made me feel melancholic was because I was thinking if this is a high ranking private school I can not being to imagine what a mediocre state school looked like. Whilst the children were probably the happiest I’ve ever seen anyone be, I couldn’t help but compare this to my boarding school experience, only to realise that there was no similarities. This this does not exclusively relate to the facilities but also to the incomparable attitude these
kids had towards us and evidently life in general. What I have learnt from this is that people actually need very little to be happy and we are continuously causing ourselves problems which are actually insignificant as we are really fortunate to not have to worry about catering for basic human needs as clean water. Obviously we are aware that some of the issues we consider problems are insignificant and there are people with issues unimaginable to us, it does however make a massive difference experiencing this first hand and I really aim to remember this once I’m back and remind myself to not get frustrated so easily about things like a lack of soya milk in the house. We left and continued or journey which felt like it was an eternity through beautiful Kenyan country side and several villages Europeans would consider Shanty towns. After a long journey we final arrived at Rongo where we were greeted with a very big delicious meal before being led to our hostel. The first day in Rongo was actually really enjoyable as the group of girls we worked with seemed very determined to make a difference about prevalent issues within their communities. We settled on the topic of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which is practiced in certain tribal communities as a rite of passage and to control women’s libido. After I was already aware that women’s rights were less developed than in the Western world I only realised then how in many communities the woman is actually considered as significantly inferior to the male. Once again I was slightly overwhelmed with this cultural difference and I was really impressed that these girls, who were younger than me, were really passionate about this and really hoping to change current attitudes. We spent the day storyboarding, explaining shots and production roles and running a practice interview and organising another interview. All in all 2 successful days which have taught be a lot of Kenyan culture, cultural diversity amongst their country and between us and their country. I am really interested in what they have to say and am looking forward to finding out more about their views on current issues.
Today was our last day at hill park hotel for the community media capacity building workshop which is a participatory workshop teaching audio and video skills. After we finished editing for our entrepreneurship video early in the morning, we spent the following hours parodying a kenyan dating show where we staged the show and pretended to be a the characters. Whilst this was amusing as it was happening once the footage was edited and taken out of context I realised it really wasn’t that funny, for me anyway, and I was making a tit of myself which is under normal circumstances isn’t a problem, however in edited video format is just embarrassing. After being ridden with paranoia that this video would go viral and I would be a Kenyan youtube sensation I learnt something ; don’t let anyone film you when your hungover, think over what your doing and how this can be taken out of context and also bear in mind that Kenyans, unlike Europeans are less acquainted with little silly videos and thus get a little over excited, especially on a video production workshop. After being reassured that this video was really not that funny and probably not given any attention my mind is at rest now. The end of the workshop was very nice as we watched all the videos we made and and then listened to great input from Willice on the video which highlighted the importance of the issues portrayed within Kenyan culture. It was really great seeing the differences in both the subjects of the and also the production approaches. All in all again today was another successful day, the whole workshop was enjoyable and educative for both parties and it’s nice to have Kenyan acquaintances which we can even contact should we ever come back.
Sir Roderick, ( later named lord of the dears), Maddy, Emily, Jen and myself awoke very early to meet our Kenyan partners Suji, Dekker and David at Nairobi university to film b-roll and interview the aspiring entrepreneur. The university ground was big and very well kept which worked out great for the voxpop we as the background was diverse. After we aided filming organisation, Rod and myself went off to film some additional b-roll as our time on campus was limited. After shooting barely anything we were approached by a campus security officer who told us we would need permission to film on campus. He wouldn’t leave so we had to call David to help us out. Once he arrived and they both him and the security officer disappeared, Rod and I realised that this was our first ever opportunity to bribe someone. After David returned we hastily left the campus to embark on journey on a matutu to hill park hotel to meet the others. Because we had finished all our filming we got to start with the editing process on Vegas where Dekker was actually significantly more advanced than us and we got taught how to use the programme. His editing skills are generally quiet sophisticated, the main input and guidance about compositioning including cutting out unnecessary interview footage, appropriate transitioning and soundtrack placing. It was actually really useful for us too because Vegas has been introduced and we learned the basics. What was even more interesting the fact that we had the opportunity to ask David Suji and Dekker about tribal culture and what this background actually means to them. What was especially interesting was the fact that their affiliation with their tribes is actually not particularly strong and that it was often mainly only politics that are fuelling the continuous conflict. The fact that we could ask an insiders opinion and not the media’s was really interesting especially as they are from different tribes. All in all a very successful second day filled with laughter information and a grand selection of hotel food.
the evening was spent calming myself down with South African white wine alongside sir Roderick in anticipation of tomorrow’s speech which I was going to hold in the UN African headquarters. The UN was a truly wonderful place and we were so honoured to be there and I was even more honoured to introduce us there to our Kenyan partners. The day started with inspirational speeches where in one the director of the UN volunteer programme told us that if we ‘if you can manage information you can rule the world’ which left me feeling hopeful about my future and inspired to improve my organisational skills. Once we were placed in groups with our Kenyan partners the initial hour was slightly awkward as both parties were apprehensive of one another, however after the plan for the day progressed and we actually grew really fond of one another. The programme went to plan and we actually got more than anticipated done which allows our group to visit Nairobi university to help interview our groups subject tomorrow morning. All in all a very successful day which left me believing in myself and my and my public speaking skills. Thanks to the UN’s HIV/aids awareness programme which is helping the prevention of these diseases amongst Kenyan communities we acquired a goody from a UN toilet dispensers which was the cherry on top of this fantastic day.
Out of any airport to be spending a few hours in order to catch a transfer flight, Zurich airport appears like one of the most glamourous locations. This illusion was quickly shattered however when we realized that all the shops, bars, resteraunts (including Burger King) shut very soon after our arrival and that we would be spending the night hungry on uncomfortable seats in an airport lounge. After the initial few hours were spent using the wide space hula hopping, doing yoga and telling each other our most intimate secrets, the hours following that were filled with frustration and moans about our lack of sleep and the discomfort caused by the waiting lounge. Regardless, we made it onto the plane where Swiss Air provided an excellent service with a wide selection of films and tv shows (Absolutely Fabolous!!!) and probably the best plane food I’ve ever had, and 7 hours later we arrived in Nairobi. We all squeezed into a very small van and arrived at our final destination for the night, Hartebeest camphouse where we celebrated our arrival with a few cold drinks in their beautiful back garden. The night was spent entangled in a mosquito net before we awoke early to start our day of planning. The planning process yet longwinded was also very useful as it gave us an idea of what to expect and what is expected from us. Here service-based learning is put into reality amongst our own community, for me at least, as I learnt more ways to effectively storyboard. After a trip to a Kenyan supermarket for our lunch break, we finalised tomorrows programme with Willice and are (hopefully) now all set for the workshops we will be facilitating throughout the next couple days.