Greetings from Nairobi! I am writing this first news blog at the start of my second production trip for Peace in Our Pockets. While I am still shaking off the jet lag and back stiffness from two long flights from North Carolina to Kenya, I’m excited about the month ahead of me.
I am settling in here with my blueprint for this month’s production work but the schedule is already in flux. At midnight on my first day in Nairobi, an email arrived about changing dates and plans for this week. It reminds me of the need to be flexible and open to opportunities and unexpected schedule changes.
Meeting the Kenyan Team and Setting the Schedule
Today I met Dan Adeli, our cinematographer, at his Nairobi office to discuss the schedule and get an update on his production work since my visit in May 2012. Dan has been a huge help from the start, offering pre-production support, securing permits, and shooting debates and happenings while I was in the States. He also brings a Kenyan perspective and freely shares his take on the wider political context. He offers thoughts on how to tell our story and what we need to shoot to make that happen.
Dan and I have many priorities for this trip. In the coming weeks, we will conduct our first sit-down interviews to learn more about the lives and life experiences of our main characters. This includes visiting Sisi ni Amani staff at their homes and capturing their backstories. We hope they will tell us in their own words how they were affected by the post-election violence of 2007-08 and how they each came to work as Peacebuilders. We will also be recording the final debates for the year and explore the impact of Sisi ni Amani’s newly launched SMS text messaging platform.
I will also be traveling to Narok to learn about about Sisi ni Amani’s peace work there. Narok, located in the Rift Valley, was the site of intense ethnic and tribal tensions following the last elections; many of these conflicts are rooted in and exacerbated by land issues. The concerns here are quite different from those in Nairobi. I look forward to hearing from the site coordinators about how Sisi ni Amani’s work has taken root and supported local efforts to strengthen democracy and peace in this more rural area.
Tomorrow we head out early to Baba Dogo in Nairobi for a final debate there. We will meet with Sisi ni Amani staff to discuss upcoming filming and to get an update on the video they have been shooting with the Flip cameras I left with them in May.
Thanks to Jackie Njeru for help in planning and preparing for this trip and being my point person at Sisi ni Amani throughout the month.