Paul Horton is the Photograph and Film Director at Neue Studios in Middletown, CT. Paul volunteered with Maji Safi during the summer of 2012. During his time in Shirati, Paul, and his team, produced films and photographs for Maji Safi.
One year ago, I traveled to Shirati to film and photograph the Maji Safi project. It was my intention to provide them with stills for use on their web site, and edit a few films that would describe their project.
I arrived in Shirati after spending three days in the national parks of Tanzania. Both the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater were wonderful locations for filming and photos.
We spent our time initially at the after school program and the singing and dancing program. Luckily, I was there for the big performance of the singing and dancing group. It took place at the Maji Safi office/community center, and had a huge audience. The spirit was really celebratory, and a moment that I will not forget. After the performance was an impromptu dance party that lasted for awhile.
We then concentrated on filming the Community Water Workers (CWWs). We visited 3 or 4 homes and filmed as the CWWs reviewed the hygiene materials with the families. A high point for me was returning to one of the houses to play music with the father of one of the families.
We had set aside time to film the process of collecting water from Lake Victoria, a task performed by water carriers. We hired a pikipiki, a Tanzanian motorcycle, to carry me as we filmed Mayanga on his bicycle. It was certainly a new experience to ride facing backwards on a motorcycle as I was filming. No major injuries, though. It is hard to believe that he makes that trip many times a day.
I have posted some photos from my time in Shirati as well.
My crew was the best (thanks, Pete and Abby!), and the experience was extraordinary. With luck, I will return next summer to update all the footage, and to report on the new Maji Safi programs in Shirati.