Tag Archives: rain

No to nostalgia

RainWe finished the film, even with 4+ days without power; our main actor walking off set mid-scene; and people never turning up when they said they would. We screened it on my laptop in a dark classroom on my last evening in Kazo, to about 20 people, and it was kind of special to feel proud of something that I had not done: the guys had done virtually all the actual shooting, acting, editing.

But there’d been too little time (or energy, or electricity) to do all that I could/should have done. I could have done a camera class with the teachers and P2 class, could have helped Eliab with his CV, could have helped Godfrey with his dance website and Joseph with his exam prep, could have helped Shakul and Baker create flickr accounts, could have given Poul more time on my computer to play with Photoshop, could have done more editing with Daniel, could have taught Juliette how to use Excel and Word, could have made that brochure for Ronald, could have done more photo sessions with everyone, especially the latecomers, could have pushed further on the AIDS issue that was always sort of there but never properly discussed. I could have done more for so many good-hearted, courageous people. Maybe I need to come back.

Before the nostalgia sets in, I’d better remember the worst bits. Continue reading

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On day 12


At Makerere University

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

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In their hands

Photo by Daniel

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

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Big rain

The Alliance Française cancelled their monthly culture night tomorrow beacause, they said, there was heavy rain forecast this week. It seemed a bit of a rubbish reason – this is an event that takes place indoors – but this could be some serious precipitation, the start of the rainy season at last. Hopefully, people are a little more cautious since the floods last December killed over 50 people in Dar, and will be more prepared this time.  The meteorological agency’s very official warning letter published on their website should at least convince those civil-servant types infuriatingly obssessed with formalities – the kind of people who have been driving me mad the past weeks – that this is for real.



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Travelling slowly

Booking flights this week to Kigoma was a bit complicated, especially since Precision Air – the only airline serving that airport – suddenly cancelled all flights to/from Kigoma until further notice. Staff at Precision couldn’t tell me why, though we assume it’s to do with the runway which is unpaved, and has already caused accidents – a plane a few months back had a bit of a crash landing when 3 tyres burst on impact. It’s dry season now, so it’s at least possible to land, not always the case during rainy season.

In the meantime, we’ve all been mildly amused/concerned by the revelation that the only radar at the country’s main airport in Dar es Salaam hasn’t been working since the beginning of August. Without that radar, used for managing air traffic, “air traffic controllers are reduced to relying on guesswork, which is very dangerous”. (Hmm, I think you can land…. now!)  The reason it failed in the first place is, surprise surprise, problems with the power supply. Continue reading

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Chicken Licken goes to Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a bit gloomy in the drizzle, in low season. Especially when you leave the faded beauty of Stone Town. But I quite liked the cool, grey weather, the empty streets, and the quiet.










Continue reading

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Rainy season, and far-off fears

Stuck in traffic, but it could be worse

E-mail from the Irish embassy a few hours ago: “Please note that there is a Tsunami warning in place on the Indian Ocean following earthquake this a.m. in Indonesia. Please monitor local radio and tv stations for up to date reports.”

By now the warning seems to have been lifted. For a brief afternoon though, we wondered if and when the tsunami would reach the East African coast. I started worrying about friends on Zanzibar. The rains that came down relentlessly for most of today – rainy season has finally got underway – seemed to warn of more frightening floods to come. We were sent home early from class because everyone realised how hard it would be to get home; meetings and gym classes this evening were cancelled; remembering the December floods in Dar es Salaam that killed over 50 people and destroyed numerous homes and offices, people began packing up valuables. Continue reading

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Fetch me my carrier pigeon

Bad weather – heavy rain and storms – makes things difficult. All the landlines are down in the neighbourhood this week. We’ve had intermittent power supply all morning – meaning flickering lights, on-off-on-off internet connection, and constant beeping from the back-up battery system that keeps our PCs running. Not only the weather is working against us:  some mobile networks seem to be having problems, and apparently a damaged fibre-optic cable in Kenya is going to slow down internet – by another 20% – throughout East Africa.


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Wet again

Floods are becoming a bit of a theme. After the sudden burst pipe in my bathroom, the (still) mysteriously flooding shower, and the dripping air conditioning in my office, now, at 3am when I finally got my stuff packed and am ready for a snooze before I go on my Big Adventure that starts in an hour and a half with a 16-hour bus trip, I discover the leak in my bedroom ceiling. I’m on the top floor, so no neighbours to blame; it hasn’t rained in ages. How long before the plaster disintegrates and the rats come down to say hi? How to stem the flow until sometime tomorrow when – hopefully – the landlord can come round for yet another DIY session with some of his fairly useless fundis (workmen)? Supposedly you’re meant to poke a hole in the ceiling to limit the damage but… I’m not too keen on seeing what else comes down along with the excess water.

I hope I don’t curse the boat I take on Thursday with this flooding thing.

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The best seats on the bus

Coated in sweat-congealed dust and grime, engine grease, and splattered roadside puddles – and that’s after sitting inside the bus.

The Lushoto-Dar journey is meant to take about 6 hours, but with stops all along the route, traffic jams, and crawling trucks before us that refuse to pull over, 8 hours seems to be the norm. Not that you’d want to overtake more on those winding roads: we see several overturned vehicles by the side of the road, on both the outward and return journeys. Each time, as the driver slows to pass, my fellow passengers rise out of their seats to stare out the window with a kind of fascinated, fatalistic horror. Continue reading

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