Tag Archives: Africa

Behind the Scenes

by Gail Mooney
December 22 2010

I’ve been in hibernation this past month – or at least it feels like it.  No airplanes, no adventures and not much interaction with people as I tackle the tedious part of editing this film.  It’s tough sometimes and a hard adjustment after the summer that I had, and there are some days, I’m just looking for a distraction.

But I keep my eye on the prize and the prize is the completed film.

Yesterday, I got news that our project was featured on the home page of More MagazineJamie Niles had interviewed me a couple of weeks ago and they had gotten it online quickly.  They provided a link to our Kickstarter site and that just might be the extra little push we need to reach our goal.  We’re less than $400 away with 14 days to go!  I’m sure we’ll make it.

In anticipation of making that goal, I have talked to a couple of editors and will pick one who is the right fit for this story or stories.

Wrap Up Africa, Kampala, Uganda

A professional editor will give the film new eyes and see things that I may not notice and help arc the story in the most powerful way. I cannot wait till I get to that point, when all the footage is transcoded and sound is synced and ready to hand off to the pro to do what they do best – edit the story.

One thing that has been enjoyable is reliving the experience by looking at all the footage and still images that we shot.  Listening to the words of our subjects again talking about what they are doing, gave me the energy that I need to get through this part of the process.

Viola, Warsaw, Poland.

Kopila Valley Primary School, Surkhet, Nepal

I’ve also been editing the thousands of still photographs that we took.  My idea from the start of this project was to shoot both video and stills.

Amazon River, Peru

The still images may become part of a book or exhibition or accompany magazine articles about this story.

Happy holidays everyone.

I’ll leave you with  a few of my favorite images.

Map of northern Thailand where Dr. Marnaw visits

Woman in small village in northern Thailand

Hippotherapy, Warsaw, Poland

Adventures on the Nile

by Erin Kelly
June 9 2010

This past weekend we took some time to explore more of the country and went on a safari to Murchison Falls National Park. It was refreshing to escape the congestion of Kampala and head out into open land. It was like being in a different country once we left the city – sprawling plantations, forests, and a night sky filled with countless stars. One of the largest national parks in Uganda, Murchison is said to be the best place to go for your first safari because of the variety of wildlife and topography. I would definitely agree with that statement.

I was first surprised by the size of the park. After we officially entered the park, we drove for at least another hour to get to the waterfalls, and then another hour after that to get to our campsite. But it wasn’t until we went on our game drive early the next morning that I could really see how expansive the park is. Standing in the van with the top popped up, watching the miles and miles of savannah rush by as we searched for game, was exhilarating. I could literally see the land stretch all the way to the horizon, but sadly my camera could never sufficiently capture such a sight. I guess that makes the moment even more special.

We saw a ton of animals, my favorite being the giraffes. The babies looked so fragile, wobbling on their skinny little legs!

Giraffes at Murchison Falls National Park

Then there were the herds of elephants, cape buffalo, bush buck, hippos, baboons, and even warthogs. Warthogs were actually frequent residents of the camp, and if you didn’t remove all food from your tent, you were sure to have a visitor at night. Apparently, hippos regularly graze around camp at night as well since the campsite is on the banks of the Nile, but we were lucky enough to avoid any hippo encounters.

Elephants and hippos along the Nile River

As the Nile River is a big part of the park, it wouldn’t be a complete safari without a boat ride on that majestic body of water. Everywhere we looked there were hippo heads emerging from the river, snorting streams of water into the air. We took the boat to Murchison Falls themselves, two waterfalls that are some of the most powerful in the world (with the entire Nile River rushing through two small crevices, you can imagine that the force of the water would be rather intense). Drifting down the Nile at sunset was a perfect ending to an adventurous day.

Overlooking Murchison Falls

Since we were on a “Big Five” safari (“Big Five” referring to elephants, lions, buffalo, leopards, and rhinos), we made a stop on the way back to Kampala at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Rhinos are sadly extremely endangered – they had already been poached to extinction in Uganda in the 1980s and a few had to be imported in order to restore the population. Because they are still being hunted for their horns, there are guards that constantly follow the rhinos around, protecting them from poachers at all times. There are currently only NINE rhinos in Uganda, and after trekking through the bush, we got to see two of them. They are magnificent creatures and it’s a shame that people still want to hunt them down.

Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Our other journey on the Nile was on Monday, when we traveled to Jinja. Jinja is the source of the Nile, so I can now say I’ve been to both the source and the end of the Nile River (in Egypt). We went rafting in the morning and relaxed on the bank in the afternoon, reflecting on our time in Africa.

We’re currently en route to Istanbul, Turkey, and I must say I am sad to leave this beautiful country. I’m so glad that we got to spend time with Letha and see things from an insider’s perspective. I’ve learned a lot about the politics of world aid, the recent history of Uganda and East Africa, the Ugandan culture, and especially the meaning of T.I.A. (This Is Africa). It’s opened my eyes to life in Uganda and Africa in general, and sparked my interest in exploring more of the continent – I definitely plan on returning to the region!

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