Tag Archives: coming home

What I’ve learned (the three big take-aways):

  • The world is a terrible place- suffering seems inevitable, and it’s so prevalent in Africa. The fact that people can live at this level of poverty across the world from us is incredible, and so confusing to wrap my mind around. Why does this sort of suffering still exist, and how is it excusable? I think that experiences like this really put into perspective how little the world has improved, and how the majority of the world really is suffering even while we are comfortable.
  • I’m still hopeful- I still think there is a lot of fundamental good inside human beings, and I hope for the world to become a better place. There is a lot of terrible humanitarian needs that aren’t being met in Africa, but there are people who are trying to meet those needs, and are doing so even with so much stopping them. I don’t think
  • I kind of enjoy film making, and should really try to do it more often- I’ve always tried to avoid taking pictures on trips since I feel that it takes me out of the experience, but sometimes when I had a camera I felt I was almost getting more. I was more actively looking for what was happening and more present because of that. Also, it means that I can show people what was happening much easier than just explaining it to them.

Getting back

While we were in Uganda, toward the end of the trip we would often mention how we wouldn’t be able to process the trip until after we got back. Interviewing, trying to get b-roll, it was stressful, it took time, and often made us less present in events then we would have liked.

Transcribing, then reading back and trying to organize the story for our documentary has really been the processing. There are many interviews that I wasn’t around to listen to, people whose stories I wasn’t around to hear. There were images and things that I wasn’t around to capture. Coming back, I’ve been able to see these things, along with review what I already knew.

There’s so much.

Lewi, Sr. Rebecca, the girls at St. Mary’s, and others I never got to hear their full stories. I had heard the spark notes version at best during the trip, but coming back to transcribe them I learned of the senseless bombings and killings in Uganda, of the plight of young women and child brides.

I had shot b-roll of a guard understanding that he was important at the school, but understanding little else about it. He had seemed a little suspicious with us there, and generally like he didn’t want us to be there bothering him. I remember leaving feeling a little confused to why we needed to bother him.

I found out while transcribing Sr. Rebecca that men commonly came to the school and posed as relatives of the girls so they could get the one they had bought as a child bride. I found out that some of the girls had specifically said that the presence of this guard helped them to feel safe. I found out that men had even showed up that morning and had been turned away.

It made a lot more sense why we were bothering him after that.

The entire process of editing has helped to bring context and understanding into my experience of Uganda, and it has also helped to put pressure on the necessity to make sure that others will be able to understand this experience.

It will be interesting to see how we can come down to do that in a 20 minute film, and if it will truly help people to understand and respond in a way that’s appropriate.

Distractions

Being back on the ranch was really tough for me in a new way than any problems I ran into on the actual trip itself. I think the hardest thing about being back on the ranch was that I was “back” meaning my life was back to its full array of distractions. Friends had returned to Omaha, I was working on moving into my house, getting a car, and starting at my new job. With all these distractions, it was easy to feel like because the physical trip was over my responsibility to the project was over as well.

However, as we got further into the editing process and we began to watch our story come alive, I again became exhilarated and focused on the task at hand. But then, I would go home or go to work and again be distracted by a whole variety of things that didn’t exist while we were back in Nogales living in one space together, always focused on what we could contribute to the project next.

I think this process of distraction and refocusing was a good one to have immediately after the trip because it made me cognizant of that loss of focus whereas if I would’ve just come home and done nothing with the trip, I would have immediately sunk back into my routine without any sort of immediate reflection on the trip and what it meant to me. This way, I was not only forced to stay focused on what I’d learned, but I was also able to help put something together that will allow other people to get a glimpse of that experience as well.

Additionally, I’ve learned now how quickly I can get distracted, and I don’t want that for myself. I want this trip to always be on the back of my mind when I’m navigating my life in the larger scheme of things.

Putting together the storyline for our documentary.

Coming “home”

I’m not exactly sure what to make of this feeling I’ve had today. It’s 3am in the morning, I can’t sleep due to my internal clock thinking it’s around 11am, and I’ve been feeling this way ever since I landed in Eppley around nine hours ago.

My room in Uganda

 

My room at "home"

Adjustment is a pretty close friend of mine. Having moved 13 times in my life, I became pretty good at being able to adjust to new situations and lifestyle changes. On top of that, between my parents being ultimate tourists and my proprietary strain of travel itch, I’ve taken lots of trips to different places, and have gotten used to the feeling of coming back from that kind of trip. Usually, I take a shower, eat a meal I missed, then within a few hours it’s back to how things were before, and besides knowing a little bit more about some place I just came back from, things are pretty much the same as before.

This feels different though. It doesn’t feel the same as it usually does when I come back from a trip. I can’t really pinpoint when it happened, but I feel different. I feel something changed in me back in Uganda, something that has changed the way I look at things around me. I was pretty unhappy before I went to Uganda, and I couldn’t really figure out why. The strange thing is, all the things I was dreading about being back are still here, yet it doesn’t make me feel the way it did before. Now, I feel a kind of inner strength that allows me to see past all the little things that used to worry me to death. I feel like my eyes see a little bit clearer, or that I somehow just know something that I didn’t know before.

Maybe it was the fact that we saw poverty everywhere, or the fact that we met people whose lives are vastly different from our own, or the fact that I know that those kids I played with who were wearing tattered shirts and looked like they were barely surviving are still there right now. All I know is, I was brushing my teeth and was annoyed that the water was too hot, and realized that I wouldn’t be able to look at things the same way again.