First two photography sessions with two of the older girls, pictures taken with DSLR camera:
Everything ran late, of course; the boys didn’t ask any questions; and we spent about four hours on I don’t know how many buses. But I think it was worth it.
First, we had to get the filming done – by now though, I can delegate most of it to the students, who get to practise focusing and close-ups while the schoolkids wiggle their little hips yet again to that same school song, grimacing worriedly at the camera because all the teachers keep commanding them to SMILE!
Next, to Makerere Art Gallery, inside the wonderfully peaceful grounds of one of the oldest universities in Africa. Continue reading
Lesson two with the Primary 3 class this morning (postponed from Wednesday, when I was summoned to film ‘baby class’ dancing for the soon-to-be-released music video – more on that soon).
Often, the kids didn’t remember who took what pictures and my system for allocating cameras each time is a bit haphazard – here are some I was able to credit with (hopefully) the right names.
I’ve almost adapted to African timekeeping, but I still don’t get the agreeing to come the next day and then you find out that person had something else on (like school), that everyone else in the group knew about and just didn’t tell you in the first place. Is it that they want to please the figure of authority, the foreigner – and they just tell us what they think we want to hear?
In the meantime, one of the guys who does turn up should actually be in school, but isn’t going – as far as I can work out, because he hasn’t been able to pay school fees. My first reaction was to send him away to avoid encouraging skipping school, but if he really has been sent home, isn’t it better he’s here, maybe learning something? Continue reading
It’s quite weird working with people who have never actually held a camera before (lesson number one: on/off button), and kind of special when you hear the “wow” that comes out when they see something through the viewfinder for the first time. Kids – these ones, at least – are not too bothered about seeing what they’ve actually photographed, so we haven’t learned that part yet; just being the one to press the button seems to be enough. Continue reading
In the middle of Kazo there’s a bare expanse of land, next to the market and just before the bus stand, known as the playground. Every day a different assortment of bright-coloured school uniforms populates the grounds for P.E. class. Yesterday, it hosted the semifinal of the first ever UYWEFA cup.
UYWEFA set up the education centre I’m based at, and the football tournament is its latest venture. A condition of joining a team is to be working, so that there are teams of butchers, market-sellers, taxi drivers, teachers, and different groups of boda-boda (motorbike) drivers. Yesterday’s match saw the Butchers edge ahead with a 1-0 victory over the Tomato-sellers. Continue reading
It’s been four days now, each day inevitably starting with my frustration at someone arriving an hour or two late, someone joining unannounced, or someone not turning up at all. But so far, the people I’m working with – late teens to early 20s living in the neighbourhood, many of whom have dropped out of school – have lifted my mood pretty quickly. They speak good English, some have done film-making before, and they do listen – even, some of them, to my pleas to stick to some sort of timetable.
Our resources are pretty limited: we sit on benches under a tin roof that deafens out any hope of discussion when it rains, next to a school full of endlessly chanting/screeching 3-7 year-olds; we have access to one power socket when the P1 classroom is free; and we’re relying on my DSLR plus a few point-and-shoot cameras donated by generous London friends. Continue reading
I’m supposed to be blogging about human rights today – part of the global Blog Action Day. I’ve only been in the country three days, though, so I’m not exactly a voice of authority. But surprises – like the primary three curriculum – have given me some indication of what issues Ugandan bloggers might be discussing.
Like the scrawled not-for-sale signs on houses and plots nearby, defensive and angry at developers trying to buy their land. In some cases, they use fake documents to kick them off, I was told; people who can’t afford a lawyer are powerless. Continue reading