Before heading off to California, I got the privilege to shoot for a couple evenings with Mumbo, this little bantam hen for a quick video to support the Billings backyard hen initiative, which is slowly making its way to the City Council. It’s a quick shot to raise some awareness around the issue. There were a bunch of people who helped out, who shall remain nameless lest I out their coops to the city.
The sound of Mr. Chen’s motor drifts upwards, mingling with water lapping along the sides of his gently rocking boat. I ache: for Sara, for my daughters, for home.
So much of the news from Africa is depressing: famine, aids, wars, orphans, despots, you name it. It’s not just the mainstream media; I’ve been hit recently by a kind of “year-end giving blitz” when relief agencies scramble for your 2009 tax planning largesse. Lots of hungry kids with flies in their eyes. I’m told by my non-profit friends that this is because people only give to tragedy not joy.
I understand this. I don’t blame them, and I don’t think they overstate or outright lie just to raise money, at least as far as I can tell.
What’s lost in that reportage, and in mainstream imagery, is how crazy wonderful the people and place is. Since mid-July, I’ve spent a month in Africa, enmeshed in a couple of pretty serious issues but there’s a great deal of joy.
I don’t want to downplay the problems or fetishize smiling kids. But I get a little tired of how we often fetishize starving kids with flies in their eyes.
This video is just some videographic ballast. Continue reading Turning Around | Mr. Ignacious Mwambola
A friend of mine likes to tell the joke: the reason I don’t like George Bush is that he was born on third base and he thinks he hit a triple.
Video footage from the current documentary project on a group of women in Malawi (MaiMwana Project) who organized to begin solving the various health issues in their villages.
I’ve been told that 95% of cinematography is pointing the camera at something beautiful.
I’d like to thank the people of Malawi for making my job easy.
When Madonna’s black-with-dark-tinted-windows Land Cruisers came barreling down the dirt road towards the orphanage, the locals thought they were ready. They had printed up t-shirts with the “Adopt Me” slogan and an arrow pointed towards their face. They were ready to run down to the main road with their shirts on, line the road out to the orphanage, and wave at the cruisers as they sped past.
Find a patch of brush. Light it on fire. Catch all the mice as they race to escape the flames. Toss them into boiling water. Wait. Scoop their wet-soaked scraggly carcass out of the water pot. Jam a dozen between two sticks. Run out to the road. Wait for a passing minibus. Sell for 150-250 Kwacha (USD$1.00-1.75)
In 1988, on a trip to Uganda, we carried a polaroid and were able to take family shots, village shots, etc. and give them the photograph right then and there. I can’t seem to find a Polaroid these days. And while everyone seems to get a kick looking at the LCD screen on the back of my camera, it’s not the same.
In Chichewa, a pregnant woman is described as pakati (between life and death) or matenda (sick).
The tickets are paid for, the seat assignments are locked in, and at this time next Tuesday I will be headed to Africa.
This trip is part of my commitment to “be like Barack,” that is to do everything Obama does: hail from Chicago (check); have two daughters and a lovely wife (check); play a not-embarassing game of hoops (check); rule the world (hehe). Still working on the Portuguese water dog.
Continue reading Have Camera, Will Travel