Tag Archives: Letha Sandison
This photo was taken when we were in Uganda, working on the segment in our film about Wrap Up Africa. This tailor is sewing to be able to pay for her child’s cancer treatments. Founder Letha Sandison established Wrap Up Africa to help aid cancer patients and their families in Uganda. She has also created jobs for artists who design and make buckles and buttons for these garments that reach markets all around the world. In essence she has created a foundation that can sustain itself.
I have been going to a lot of film festivals this past month and we’ve done quite well, winning Best Documentary at the Orlando Film Festival and Festival Theme Award at the Ojai Film Festival (theme was “Enriching the Human Spirit Through Film”). While I am truly honored that the film has done so well at festivals, I need to remind myself that I did not make this film to garner accolades.
Erin and I made this film to create awareness and inspire and motivate others, as to what they can do to make our world a better place. That will only happen if we utilize the power of film and get it seen. Whether it is seen at film festivals, broadcast or online, our goal is to reach people everywhere. Our hope is that we can create a “shift” and get people to realize the power they have as an individual in making the world – the world they want to live in.
When I talk to people in the audience at film festivals, I can see that happening. I hear it in their questions and comments. I see it in their eyes. But I always wish there were more people in the audience and more audiences to show it to and I get impatient waiting for it to “grow”. I have faith that it will because I know we aren’t the only ones who are thinking about the future of our planet or looking for a little “more” in their own lives.
I’m encouraged by the people in our film like Maggie Doyne, Letha Sandison and Gina Low who stay committed to their cause. I wish there were more people like them and maybe, just maybe someone will see our film and do something because of it. That is how I can make a difference – by using my craft to create awareness. So, please forgive me if I post too much on Facebook or send out too many emails about upcoming festivals. The film will only have the power to make a difference – if someone sees it.
After approximately 22 hours of travel, we finally arrived in Uganda! I refer to us as “mzungus” because that’s the word for white people/foreigners in Ugandan. We flew in last night, over miles of water and under a full moon. We had been traveling since 6am on Tuesday, and despite the lack of electricity at our hostel,
we were so excited to crawl into bed. Especially a bed that was covered in mosquito netting.
We spent our first full day with our first subject, Letha Sandison, who took us around town to show us her daily hotspots. We went to the local university and toured the art department, which was surprisingly large and budding with students, despite the lack of job prospects for art students here – a problem that Letha is working to counteract by collaborating with local artists for her various projects with Wrap Up Africa. We got to meet some of these artists – Bruno, an incredible potter and painter, whose studio is filled with beautiful hand-painted vases; and Sega, a gifted metal craftsman who has made uniquely shaped bronze buttons for Letha’s clothing. Both were very welcoming, and we’ll be returning to their studios on Saturday to film them working on their crafts.
We also visited the office for Wrap Up Africa and met some of the staff members. With brightly colored walls and rooms full of smiling tailors, it certainly was a lovely place to be. We’ll be spending most of the day there tomorrow, interviewing Letha and other staff members,
and filming them working on their textiles. I’m looking forward to talking more with the staff and hearing their stories.
I had some interesting animals sightings today. The first thing I saw when I walked out of our room this morning was a gigantic pig. I kid you not – it was huge and it was standing right outside our building. Later, at Letha’s house, we met her “house duck,” Donald, sitting on their coffee table – it really is a duck that mainly lives inside! And when we got back to the hostel, I saw a pack of baby goats grazing outside our window. And that’s just right outside the capital city! I can’t wait ‘til our “Big Five” safari, where we’re sure to see some amazing animals in the wild.
Some interesting facts I’ve learned today about Uganda:
- English is the national language in Uganda. Who knew! Although that doesn’t mean that absolutely everyone speaks it – there are dozens of tribal languages spoken as well, including Ugandan.
- Ugandans drive on the left side of the road. I guess it’s not that surprising it was a British commonwealth, but I didn’t know that either.
- There are at least three different ways in which the word “now” is used: “now” means sometime in the next few months, “right now” means sometime in the next few weeks, and “now now” means what we think of as “right now.” No wonder why Letha kept saying “now now!”
Tomorrow brings new adventures – I’m excited to learn more about Wrap Up Africa!