Oria Village is located an hour outside of Moshi, Tanzania and is only accessed through tortuous, rocky roads. During our tenure in Tanzania we visited Oria Village with the NGO KIWAKKUKI that has launched a water sanitation program there. During our two visits there we witnesses a PUR demonstration and subsequent distribution of it. We also visited some of the water source and rudimentary infrastructure in the area.I have organized a photo story to illustrate some of the sights from our visit.
We’re almost into our last full week of post production in Austin, and boy has the time flown. As we add finishing touches to photos and written pieces, put together a few more video assemblies and prepare for the wrap party next Sunday, it’s becoming clear to everyone that August came way too soon. In about three weeks we’ll be back in Chapel Hill, sitting in classrooms, picking up part-time jobs and organizing everything that is a fall semester at college. But as we slowly submit ourselves to the back-to-school mentality, we know that our time with Students of the World won’t leave us.
In fact, if all goes according to plan, we might come across our work every day. The event planners have been communicating with their respective university representatives to find outlets for our work to be displayed back home. For UNC, the number of opportunities we have is tremendous, especially with the Gillings School of Global Public Health opening its Water Institute in October. Through the school, plans are in the works to show film vignettes at World AIDS Day, to contribute B-roll to the Water Institute film, and more. We’ve also contacted the Student Union and the FedEx Global Education Center, which have expressed interest in displaying our photos and videos for all to see.
This ties back into SOW’s mission to not only document social issues around the world, but also to educate those at home through the media we produce. We had an incredible experience, and now it’s our job to spread the word. Our work will also serve as a recruiting tool, helping us to find team members for next year’s team. Now Einoti’s story can be everyone’s, and the intersection between clean water and health will become apparent to our fellow students.
So although we’ll be back to the daily routine of school, we can rest easy knowing that we brought our work around full circle, beginning and ending our work in our university. The work will serve to teach, and will hopefully inspire next year’s SOW team to go above and beyond our efforts, doing their best to share stories of progress from around the world.
As I prepare to enter my last week in Austin, I am becoming slightly frantic to make sure I see and do all of the things that I have heard are Austin “must dos.” Yesterday as I sat at Jo’s Coffee Shop on South Congress listening to some early afternoon live music, I decided to sit down and journal for the first time since I’ve been in Austin, and the thing that was most on my mind was the personality of this city. It is known by many to be the nation’s music capital, but more than that, what has struck me most about Austin is the feeling that time passes differently here. With creative, artistic events going on every hour on the hour, it seems like people are constantly trying to pursue their passion without worrying too much about the passing of time, their plans for the near future, etc. In my interview with alumnus Stephen Salisbury a few weeks ago, he said a few comments which really resonated with the way that I have felt in Austin:
Regarding the “creative world,” he said: “I think there are a lot of creative people here but there is less of a drive to get to the top which there would be in bigger markets, which is good and bad depending on what you are looking for.”
Regarding Austin life, he said: “You can be very comfortable in Austin and not push yourself to do much more than hang out. There is so much stuff to just do, to consume.”
As I sat with a few fellow SOW members outside of a frozen yogurt shop last week, I asked them to tell me adjectives that they thought described Austin based on their experiences so far, and our pool of words was the following: young, active, alive, quirky, laid-back and free-spirited. While we have only spent a short six weeks here, I think it’s fair to say that a lot of us have fallen in love with the rhythm of life and attitude of this city. It encourages you to be active, creative and spirited, while also pushing you to focus on the present: sit down to enjoy live music, go to “happy hour” yoga at a coffee shop, eat too much Tex Mex, and (if you are of age of course), try a margarita!
It was another eventful day for the event planning staff of Students of the World. A few weeks ago, the other event planners and I went on an Austin-wide scavenge to find coffee houses to showcase the teams’ photography. Today, we saw the fruit of our labor when we hung our photographs in JP’s Coffee house!
Hanging photos may not sound like a difficult task, but it proved to be surprisingly challenging. By the time we had figured out how to best hang and organize the pictures, almost four hours had passed and we had yet to hang up the captions. Several rolls of duct tape later, we finally finished and celebrated with a free iced coffee compliments of our barista-friend Devin.
JP’s Java is by no means an art gallery, but it is a great opportunity for exposure within the local community and the photographs turned out really well! I had planned on taking some videos to give a virtual tour of our exhibit, but sadly the flip camera ran out of batteries. Instead, I took a few pictures on my phone. The quality isn’t great, but hopefully you can get an idea of what it looks like!
Today Steven and the film crew braved the Texan heat to execute and shoot SOW’s own PUR demo to be used in our CGI film. I think we can all agree that no matter how many times we’ve watched PUR work its magic, it’s still mind boggling. I left midway through the demo to meet up with our Swahili translator–yes, we finally have our footage translated for subtitles! Thank you Nasir!–but I’m now in the editing bay watching footage from the demo with Fred, Nicole, Rebecca, and Steven, and judging by what I see, success! Check out this clip of Steven examining the “floc” left behind after filtering with PUR (narrated by Nicole).
The beginnings of the 9-5 mentality are beginning to appear for the Students of the World team. Actually, it’s a bit more like 8:30-6. We’ve been producing rough video cuts to send to Children’s Safe Drinking Water, creating photo and Soundslide stories, writing op-eds and press releases, preparing recruitment plans and finding outlets to showcase our work in the Austin community. But while we get used to the office setting, we also realize that there’s a reason we sometimes come in early or stay late — we enjoy what we’re doing.
No other job has allowed me to work with a group of extremely talented peers on creative projects that we get to see through from beginning to end. The creativity that circulates through the office on a regular basis is an invigorating thing to experience, not to mention a push to increase my own creative output. But I would be lying if I said we’re always at the top of our creative game. Sometimes, at least for me, it feels like there’s not a creative bone in my body.
Of course, deadlines don’t go away because the team isn’t feeling its creative best. Instead, it leaves us wondering how best to continue working, how to push ourselves forward even when we don’t always feel up to it.
Our most recent challenge has been building a video piece from scratch, and essentially deciding how we want to tell the story. The film will eventually be our Children’s Safe Drinking Water submission for the Clinton Global Initiative. It will highlight CSDW’s prior CGI commitment, showing how it exceeded its goals and is continuing to provide support for those without safe drinking water. With that as a springboard, our goal is to create a compelling, innovative film in under 90 seconds. For those of you with film experience, you probably know that 90 seconds isn’t as much time as you would like to tell a story. But take a look around and you’ll see that today’s media is becoming more fast-paced and varied than ever before, so it’s important to make your media stand out, and to do it quickly. We’re now in the process of experimenting with graphic animations, music, and creative uses of text to tell CSDW’s story in the best way possible.
Sometimes the creative spark is shining bright, and we see our ideas come together quite clearly. But there are times too when that vision isn’t as clear, and we must work as a team to overcome whatever obstacle is in our way and move forward. Ideas have been brought up, thought about, kept, trashed, put aside for later, and everything in between. The creative process is just that, a process, and we navigate it with varying success every day. For me, as cheesy and overdone as it is, a wall we encountered in Tanzania keeps me in the right mindset…