What an assignment to document Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project (NAOP)! My first trip to Africa for Caring For The World Films was outstanding. When Winston Churchill labeled Uganda the Pearl of Africa, he was right on the mark. Although exhaustive research was conducted, there was no way to prepare for the astounding beauty of this country. This place is a cinematographer’s dream, not only for the beauty of the countryside, with its beautiful tropical forests, arid savannas, extraordinary animals, birds and flora, but the Ugandan people. Their friendliness and warmth cannot be overstated. When I asked our always-smiling travel coordinator Sam Mugisha what is it about the Ugandan culture that perpetuates the inclusiveness to all, he simply said, “We are a country of many tribes. It is in our best interest to get along and be inclusive, even to those who don’t look like us.” Fair enough. He added that there are over 150 different clans with numerous religions with varying cultural nuances.
As with all of our assignments, we embedded with the local residents and worked tirelessly to gain acceptance and permission to document the Nyaka story. My chief concern was how long it would take to earn their trust.
Caring For The World Films is the first to bring drone technology to these villages. We approached local law enforcement and government officials first to gain permission to fly the drone in the two districts. That was easy enough once the locals realized we were not there to steal their crops. Slowly, we went village to village demonstrating the aircraft. Locals were amazed at the technology and wanted to learn more. They also were appreciative that we took the time to meet them to ask permission and share details of the documentary before firing up our cameras to shoot footage.
I will be sharing many stories in the coming weeks about the behind the scenes activities of our assignment. For now, I am taking a long needed break to recharge creative batteries after the two-month trip.
Until then, check out our Facebook page, twitter or Instagram to see what took place this summer.
Editor's note: I highly recommend the book "Girl Soldier" by Grace Akallo and Faith J.H. McDonnell. It is a true first person perspective of the horrors occurring in Northern Uganda at the hands of Kony. Grace escaped the torture of Kony's LRA to share her story with the world.
Next up: The crew