Another reason to trust your project to people beyond yourself. (Some people any way...)

About three hours ago the world proved, yet again, that I can't control it.

My visa fixer informed me that I wont be able to get my paperwork for South Sudan hammered out until about 4pm on Friday.  The plan was for me to get it today and then fly out tomorrow. So instead of getting into Juba tomorrow afternoon (Thursday), I'll be getting in on Saturday.  This cuts my time in South Sudan to exactly two weeks.

On paper it shouldn't really effect anything (I was already expecting that my work over the day and half that I've lost would mostly be about getting adjusted to the timezone and culture and less about shooting) but if I'm being honest, it shook me for a few minutes and tossed me off the noble steed of self confidence that I had been riding all morning. I couldn't think past it, I couldn't see what I should do next.

I expect it had a lot to do with the jetlag.  Yeah, it was the jetlag….

I mostly spent the next hour or so sitting out on the balcony of the iHub with an amazing americano, trying to relax for a second while my Assistant Producer tamped the situation back under control.[/column]

[column]My AP is Martin Kariuki and he's exactly the right guy to have on my left flank right now.  Martin is a Nairobian who grew up in a situation that left him incredibly street smart, savvy, and realistic; while at the same time remaining kind, funny, and optimistic.  It's a powerful concoction and I suspect it's the reason Erik put him as my point man the last time I was here.  Erik Hersman brought him on as my go-to while I was in Kenya last year working on projects surrounding the Kenya Referendum for Ushahid. We immediately clicked. 

Martin got off the phone with the fixer, called the hotel, my driver here in Nairobi, and the local airline I'm using and got everything adjusted.  All I had to do was focus on maintaining perspective.  That might sound decadent, but when you only have a couple of weeks to shoot a documentary, it's really valuable to be able to remain at 10,000 feet, or at least 5,000 feet, when you can. 

Martin has been the difference between juggling 10 things in my head and juggling 5.  That difference results in perspective and maintaining perspective is how you make a documentary. 

With out that perspective you follow events like a cow being lead around by the nose, you are the captive of your environment and you tire easily.  Martin, my AP, is a liberator.

Further Proof that you need to be a little "off" for this job.

I sometimes think that if we lived in a more "tame" world, then the rugged cameras and over built gear would not be necessary and we could all run around with the latest consumer grade gadgets. The world is not a very soft place as it turns out, and so we haul around 20lbs cameras with bulky tripods. National Geographic's Bob Poole is a guy I admire a lot. It's not just that I envy his hair (which I do), or that I hope to have that instinctive eye that he has despite carrying around a huge 2/3" ENG kit, I admire his willingness to experience something that civilization has spent a lot of energy trying to avoid for the last 4000 years.

Kampala with Jon Gosier


[column]It's funny to think that I had almost gone an entire trip in Africa without loosing power. Being based in Nairobi this time around meant having electricity and broadband accessible everyday. In this day and age, one can almost forget how far away from home you really are. I had taken a day trip to Kampala to interview Jon Gosier about SwiftRiver when I finally was reminded how 99% of Africa produces product: with unreliable power. In Kenya, I've been able to push up to my blog, get email, charge batteries, and call my wife every night, but around 9pm last night in Kampala the lights in Jon’s house started flickering as we tried to push email through a shared “3G” connection.

The Developing World as a whole is full of seeming contradictions and it's hard to paint that whole picture, but editing HD video while downloading email, and SMS-ing with my wife in the States all while in a house without power and unsafe water coming out the tap touches on parts of that overall picture.

Up-Country for the Vote

Today I traveled into Kenya's Rift Valley to document the climent of the voteing public as the country voted in or out a new national constitution. We traveled for hours on paved and unpaved roads to Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru, Njono, Elburgon, Molo, Keresoi, Ndefo, and Mauche. On days like today, when you are traveling through several different language groups with diverse political and geographic landscapes, it's so nice to have a good team. I am lucky to have such a good partners in Martin and Kennedy: my fixer/associate-producer and driver respectively. The photos bellow of me are Martin's shots. I'll be working out of Kibera tomorrow.