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Janet Hawkwood’s BlogTanzania

Oral History Interpretation and Documentation Program in Tanzania – Our first night in Tanzania we were sitting at an outdoor restaurant having a beer after our three-day adventure getting to Dar Es Salaam. Overhead, thousands of birds, an endless stream flying past, the sun was low in the sky, it was the magic hour. It truly was endless. But as we watched them it became apparent that these were not birds, they had no tail feathers, and their wings, solid, each with two arches. They were fruit bats, a massive cauldron of fruit bats. It was endless, and beautiful, and then as the sun set, the call to prayer could be heard across the city, perfect, a great opening night!

It is always about the moments; a small girl in her faded green dress with her mother behind her in a bright red Masai robe framed by their doorway, storks taking flight all at once from a top a massive tree, a small hut on the side of the road selling water at night, its only light a single candle.

We were walking along a muddy trail at the end of our hike to the coffee plantation. Two Tanzanian students, Jesca and Onesmo were ahead of me holding hands.  The forest was alive with the sounds of birds, all kinds of birds, and then once again came the call to prayer, faraway. Now add the sounds of students quietly talking, laughing, a rooster crowing, a perfect combination.

We did several interviews over the week in Arusha. Together with the Tanzanian students who helped with the note taking, translation and the paperwork, we heard great stories and shared great moments, learning together about local cultural traditions.

I couldn’t ask for a better team of filmmakers. Erica Meus-Saunders, Courtney Bolivar and Carter Thurber have been the super team of swift and creative documentarians, always ready and always getting the right shot. Margaret MacDonald and Breagh Jenkins, made the team complete by helping with the gear, recording sound and as with the others, conducting professional and effective interviews

All of this couldn’t happen without Kellie McMullin, our fearless leader on the ground who gets us into all kinds of adventurful situations and in her laid back, wise way, always gets us back safely with great stories to tell and great experiences to learn from.

And finally thank you to everyone who made this possible, most importantly, Katie Orr and Doug Barnes, who without their commitment to international education none of this would be possible.

Janet Hawkwood

Screen Arts Faculty

NSCC Waterfront Campus

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