Four our third Backpack Journalism project we returned to Northern Uganda to create Wer Uganda. After completing Mato Oput and talking to each other, the faculty felt that we had only told half the story. The suffering of Northern Uganda that is described in Mato Oput cannot be denied, but the people there are still carrying on with a dogged determination and optimism. We wanted to capture a more celebratory side of their culture. The result is a film about the role native dance and music are playing in the efforts of Northern Uganda to heal.
One of the highlights of this trip was our visit to the community of Abia, which had warmly welcomed us the year before. One of the 2011 students and her family hosted a fund raiser for Abia and raised over $3000.00. We asked local leaders what they needed most and were shocked when they said “oxen and plows to increase food security.” So, we bought them some of these, and the 2012 team delivered them. The atmosphere was quite celebratory, and much of that celebration comes through in the film, especially in the final scenes.
Wer Uganda contains some impressive camera shots made possible by the video crane that our director insisted on bringing. The crane was disassembled and the parts distributed in the baggage of students. Lesson learned: When in doubt, take it with you.