Students from the May term class PR in East Africa will be presenting two documentaries. In this cultural exchange, Goshen College students will have the opportunity to learn about the Maasai, eat East African food and listen to traditional drumming.
Led by communication professors Pat Lehman and Kyle Hufford, the May term filmed two separate documentaries of the Ngong and Ndeiya regions, both near Nairobi, Kenya.
Jake Smucker, the lead editor in the Ngong film group, shared about his experience and the stories he captured through the lens.
“Originally, the plan was to develop a story about the women who walked for hours to gather water and carry it back to their families,” Smucker said. “However, our story shifted and we explored the lifestyle changes of the Maasai people, which include a shift toward settled life and the adoption of new technology.”
The second film group, led by David Leaman-Miller, headed toward the Ndeiya region to document a project supported by the Anglican Development Service, World Renew and Foods Resource Bank. Later, the second group also went to the Ngong area to film projects headed by the Maasai Integrated Development Initiative (MIDI) and Mennonite Central Committee.
“The two films are about two separate sustainability projects in Kenya,” Leaman-Miller said. “Both of these projects focus on education and empowering people to help themselves…working with the people to find solutions that everyone can be a part of.”
In speaking about his personal experience in filming the Maasai people, Leaman-Miller noted the excitement in sharing the stories of the people.
“We were privileged enough to see some awesome places and people, and I hope that we managed to capture that with our films,” Leaman-Miller said. “The most inspiring part of the trip was to see how anxious these people were to tell their stories. They have been doing great work, building a sustainable future for themselves and were proud to share their successes.”
Smucker too, relayed a similar message, “After a 2-3 hour bumpy ride to reach their villages, we were greeted by welcoming, kind-hearted people who were excited to share their stories.”
In summarizing his experience, Smucker expressed his gratitude for the opportunity and the chance to share it during the documentary showing.
“These were opportunities and conversations I never would have received if not for the power of the camera to share a story,” Smucker said. “The only thing is, to share a story we need an audience, so come watch our films!”
The documentary showing will be next Thursday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. in Newcomer 17.