Blog Rogier

31 Januari 2011

Rogier van Beeck Calkoen was 15 when he first came to CameraEducator Jan van der Meer at Global Digital Videographers Centre in Zandvoort. His parents bought him his first videocamera. Rogier now 21 has no believe in Christ (yet) and Catholic believe so for him a totally new world. He gets connected now in Nairobi during our 3 month trip together with so many nice and hard working Missionary Fathers, Priest & Nons and Seminar Students at the big compound of the Apostels of Jezus at Langata road. We allready visited Schools and locations from this congrication in Mombassa and Nairobi. Will Roger be baptised here? Think different about his life on earth? Let us see.....

10. It’s Easter in the City of Nairobi

Outside the Catholic University are standing hundreds and hundreds of people.
I never could really understand. I never really understood people believing in the church or in a god almighty. Stupid people with fear they should be. Wanting to suffer because Jesus did?. And why they pray in church so long.
Why become healthy men priests and beautiful girls sisters? It was  a big question mark for me. We have met women that were asking for money because they did not have enough  to live. Because their men had run away. Or got killed by aids because they betrayed their wives .So. It is not surprisingly that many women choose to become a nun. They have food. They have a home. They help people. They take care for left kids. They live in a friendly and beautiful place where people are kind to each other.  Like Sister Jane who is planning to build a hotel  for tourists so she can earn more money to provide shelter for more orphans.
I was thinking differently and hold on to the negative opinion about the church and god. Until that  day I was with Jan celebrating Easter.
Easter is quite differently than searching Easter eggs like we do in the Netherlands. Here it is a dramatic piece of art. Good actors from the University of Nairobi in beautiful costumes play for hours. Starting from the Catholic University they walk to the Apostles of Jesus at Father Josephs.  It is like a  play  Shakespeare would have written.
 A young boy of around nineteen has the great honor to play Jesus. He carries the cross while being insulted and cursed  for more than an hour walk.The audience was  deeply involved. They shout and insult Jesus. They provoke by asking to prove he is the son of God. Many viewers were crying during the long walk. Then Jezus got hanged on the cross.
When night I talked with Agnes in the garden of the Apostles of Jesus. There is total darkness, no difference between sky and earth. Because she is a Catholic I wanted to know her opinion and she wanted to know whether if I had changed mine. I told her that I’m an atheist. But also what I had seen today.
“I don’t know if you know but.. God sent his son Jesus to make the world better. He couldn’t do it himself anymore, so rotten the world has become. He sent his son to earth in risk that he would fail and killed. And so happened. But what would the world look like if Jesus would have never come to earth?”
What would poor, traumatized, angry Africa look like without church?. Or without good stories that guide between good and bad, heaven and  hell? Without Jesus as the protagonist in the story of the world?
This wonderful play of Easter was only guiding people on the right track. And in a very successful way. A fact is that it’s the oldest story on earth. And if true or not true, it helps people to stay positive. Best stories are based on reality too. So. I think and think and....
Perhaps I do believe then.

09 “This is what you wanted 
to experience right?”

On many moments of excitement, sadness and danger, Jan used to say: “This is what you wanted to experience, right?” 
With our tickets we enter the bus to Kisumu. With our luggage under. A guy from the great bus company Acampo managed to let us change buses four times  that were all going to the same destination Nairobi.
Many of these unorganized problems has occurred during our travel. In the first week you think: ah it’s Africa. The second week you become angry. And the third week you discover that it doesn’t matter if you get angry. You will only get tired.
So nobody in Africa will get angry. Because it takes too much energy. When there is no energy in food or weather. The whole system is built on how to solve problems with the least effort for just now.  It’s a day to day thinking. You learn how to appreciate life on a day by day base.
It’s the reason why there are many kids around. Why man betray their wifes. Why aids could become so big. And why there is a lot of criminality I think.
As you live perhaps only today, one can choose to keep working for a boss. Or one could kill him and take his money. It seems that for many those decisions are hard to make. I would not like to imagine Africa without a church.
At night we enter the cities around Nairobi. People burn their trash. Easter starts and there is a national Holiday for those who can take it. Nairobi is big and full of people going out. We stop at  the place where we started our Uganda/Rwanda travel. And take a taxi home.
Home in Africa is at Father Joseph who takes us as their kids in a nice room. A father maybe without his own kids but as a daddy for many. People in poverty, kids without love. He gave up for so little. But if I see what he has achieved. How many have been helped and will be helped. It’s a loved father by everyone. How he walks is like a king. People stand up. Kids get nervous. And he likes that.
In the last week I helped Jan cleaning an old office at the Apostles of Jesus to make their  a facility to edit films and videos. Four televisions, with two editing systems, pen and paper ready. Cameras in the back, ready to use. I bet the studio looks better and more professional then the National TV Station of Kenya. Global DVC, the company Jan van der Meer has set up in  Amsterdam has now an overseas department in Kenya as well.
The last week we discover more and more that we miss  European food. Some olives and  pizza. After three months having rice, Matoki (consisting bananas) and chicken.
In front of Father Josephs Technical School there is a super modern shopping centre where we eat.
As the trip slowly comes to an end, people ask if we could take them with us. Jan has some work for them. But when we tell them that it could be very cold and that there is a lot of rain they change rapidly in a less enthusiastic mood. The way out of Africa is a dream.  When being on the airport checking in to our flight back to Amsterdam I realise that we are very fortunate to have made this journey. That I met Jan as my teacher. That I had money to go traveling. That we had the strength to persevere. That we could be always stay positive when we saw very sad things around us. That we had no accidents. That we  met the right people on the right times. That my travel mate Jan is still my mate. And  to be able traveling to where we like it.  Another privilege Africans don’t have. To move.
I changed my perception about religion. Quite a lot since my time in Africa  The final beat came that Easter day. I never really understood people believing in the church. Often talking about his catholic faith.  Nice discussions occurred but understanding, I didn’t really do.  Until that Easter day when I celebrated Easter.

08 Kisumu, Kiboko Bay

It rains and rains. And the wipers of the bus do not work. On the right side a group of school kids pass us by. From the other side we are overtaken by lorries. We can’t believe our eyes. I look around me if someone is with me. But nobody cares. Some people do stare into the front window. Others sleep peacefully.
On one of most dangerous roads in the world, with rain and no wipers we travel. And this with the most luxurious bus Acamba. And nobody cares. The driver throws some water from the inside on the window, that falls down on the open dashboard along the wires.
Everything seems always run slightly well in Africa. And in fact we did not had any accidents.  But we do have two more weeks to go.
The risk people sometimes take is unbelievable but in most cases inevitable. Life and death is something simple that belongs to daily life. So live everyday as it is your last one. This is maybe why Aids could grow so fast. That's why  African men probably cheat more compared to other countries and why there is  much more criminality. Next to other factors as poverty and no education.
After having stayed a week at the Apostles of Jesus Mazoldi House in Kampala,where we stayed before, we move to Kisumu. The city where Obama’s family comes from.
I speak with some people about their city. They most of all do not have any feeling with Obama. A young boy answers: “ Did I got ever any money from him? So why should I like him? Did he ever come back to greet me?”
We are making a video for Kiboko Bay Resort. This Luxurious Resort is located at the Victoria Lake. It’s managed by Indians. There are many people from India. They mostly escaped from Uganda when Idi Amin ruled the country.
At night we wake up. It’s smelling so bad. And there is noise. A Nile Horse (Kiboko) eats the grass just a meter in front of our tent. We climb out of bed, not knowing that the kind looking Kiboko’s kills more people in Africa then any other animal. The manager comes out to warn us and notices that one other Kiboko is on the other side of us. If they decide to run towards us, we will be death. Not because they are cruel or want to eat us. No. But if they are afraid they want to go as soon as possible to the water side. So rule number one is that nobody should block the way towards the water.
Next day we prepare a small expedition along the mangroves to see  other famous inhabitants. The birds. More birds than at Lake Bunyonyi. Lake Victoria is a real unknown place for birdwatchers. However, nobody knows how long this still will be. Tough fishermen kill or torture the birds because they steal their fish by breaking the wings or legs.
Suddenly the boat is lift off and the motor kicked ahead. I hold my camera stronger and try to see what happens. A Kiboko was under us. A group of six of them come up. A mother with her child looks straight at us at not even four meters ahead. We keep filming. To catch nature is something fascinating. We are here not on invitation. We don’t speak their language. We can't swim as they do.
But we may film and tell others what their day looks like. 

07 Rwanda with Father Pancras

After having waited two hours at the border we finally get our  visas. Rwanda is less easy going as Uganda. You have to go on internet to apply for a visa. However, in Kabale there are not that many cyber cafes and the ones that are working have slowly internet. But Father Pancreas assures us that we finally we will overcome this hurdle, it will be worth.
We go off the road and up into the mountains. It’s around eleven o´clock at night as people still pass us, walking to another village. It’s darker than dark and the road is bumpy. After a heavy drive of an hour we arrive in ….., a village.
On this hill there is no electricity. Carrying an oil lamp the assistant to Father Pancreas shows us the way, as if we are friends from long ago. And of-course, whether I could show him Europe when he will ever come to us. Jan offers him a cherished gadget, spectacles with   built-in led lights.  For when you read a book at night. Or, as Father Pancreas interrupts, to do the miss! With a big smile and his tongue all the way out he laughs.
Father Pankras is from Uganda but was sent to Rwanda to work. After the Genocide more than ever there is a need for praying. Nowadays the Hutsi’s and Tutsi’s are still avoiding each other. The hills where Tutsi’s live are not allowed for Hutsi’s to build on. Nevertheless, in schools they teach about the genocide and everywhere are plates written that Genocide should never happen again. And to respect for each other.
Fr. Pankras opens the book and turns on his glasses and the light. The church-goers look  as if they see an alien.
We continue our road trip towards Kigali. The Capital of Rwanda. A modern city. Big Supermarkets, shopping centers,  a digital Walhalla for photography. To CNN it is the fastest growing economy of Africa. We stay in a hotel with Father Pancras who takes the first bath of his life. Incredible he said. We were invited by a lovely Japanese couple Jan has met in Uganda. He worked at Japanese Ambassy. They invite us to have dinner in their home. We drink sake and have Japanese food, Father Pancras can’t stop laughing. As always with his tung far out of the mouth. In a suburb of Kigali we visited an Orphanage of the young artist Emanuel. It rains. Kids from the age of three to ten are imitating the Michael Jackson dance movements. Emmanuel who is running this orphanage paints with them. On the children paintings you can see the terrible past that happened before they were born. And that influences their today life. Paintings that symbolize their past. What they have seen. Or what they have heard. They are orphans, but not that their parents were killed in the Genocide. After their Tutsi mothers were  raped by Hutsi's, many children have been laid on the street. Waiting for someone to take care.
One pictures a Maria with her child in her arms that tears blood. And gives it away to a stranger. But they have been born by a Hutsi father and a Tutsi Mother. Something that is not tolerated. So many children have been laid on the street waiting for someone to take care for. On the children paintings you can see the terrible past that happened before they were born. And that influences their today life.

06 Kabale and Bunyonyi

A man with red eyes and broken teeth smiles at us. If we could sponsor him for a new house.  He is kind and the man has walked so far to see us.  Knowing that if he had walked long enough we might give him some money. He shows his legs.The man is old. He is one out of many that want money. The people here are poor. Poor by having so much food that working is not needed. The whole way of working for money to pay food is still  unknown. There is enough food but no money. But people want  fancy things as mobile phones, computers and tv’s. So there is a need for money.
A saying in Kabale is that if you cut with a knife into the ground a tree will come out. Here people eat  five times a day. But also the same menu. Matoki for breakfast, Matoki for lunch, Matoki for dinner and Matoki for Supper.
Kabale is cold. Fog raises every morning and at night you have to get deep under the blankets. The city is built along the road to Rwanda. We are here to teach at the Secondary Schools about the importance of Internet. How to stay in cheaper touch by Skype. As well as how to reach the people you want to reach by LinkedIn or Facebook. The kids like it but question the importance of it. Why? I have a telephone and to buy credit is not that expensive.
It’s a mentality I have seen more often in Africa. Why change as it works fine? What is now happening is important. Not the future because there is none.
After having stayed a week in the house of Father Joseph and  reached at four schools, we move to Lake Bunyonyi. This lake is the deepest one of Africa. Around one kilometer deep. There are no fish..It looks brown as it is from a volcanic crater. We make a video for Crater Bay Cottages. Lake Bunyonyi is an amazing place for backpackers as there are campings and cheap cottages. Roland Tumwebaze is our captain. In a heavy wooden canoe we row across the lake He leads us to bird island and through the fog. People living in refugee camps greet us from far. Under our Captain Roland his arm is a big book with all the birds that belong to Africa. He has studied them all. On the way to Bird Island we come along Punishment Island. Until the sixties Punishment Island was a dump place for unmarried pregnant girls. The island is about twenty meters long and there is only one tree. On the other side there is another island that was assigned to Lepra patients. Only a church and some houses are standing on the hill. Between these two islands is a small island that belonged to a doctor that went everyday to Punishment Island and then to the Lepra Colony.
After a week in Crater Bay Cottages we moved to Birdnest. Birdnest looks as a castle. Inside it is beautiful decorated with colourful lights. Dinners are delicious, the beds are nice and hot water is available. It has a beautiful view yet a dark feeling you often feel in European Castles. In the morning when the fog lands birdnest comes in sight. As a mysterious place. Maybe this is because Idi Amin has killed his oponent in this place and later took over his villa.

05 Mazoldi House Kampala

Shaky bus ride to Kampala.
We made a reservation for the most luxurious bus from Nairobi to Kampala, Uganda. A sixteen hour ride through Kenya.  Father Joseph brings us at 5am to the center of the city where we depart. The bus is fully decorated with wood and have three rows of luxurious seats. We are wondering whether we ever have seated in such  smooth and relaxing chairs. With a breakfast offered by Acampo, the bus company. 
Through hills, passing villages where everybody waves at us or put the middle finger up. The journey is amazing. But shaky. After 15 Masaai villages and a few vulcanic mountains the bus suddenly is lifting up. And we come down. I hurt my head at the window.  As we continue,seasickness occurs. It 's hot. 
We stop in Kisumu. We are the only white persons and everybody looks with big eyes at us. The city center is quite modern. It has a shopping centre and some nice restaurants. But most of Kisumu exist of slums. Houses made of clay and straw.
When people wake up in this town they call it just another day. Kisumu became world known because of President Obama, child of a father who was born in Kisume. Now the poor village is overloaded with Obama merchandise. You find Obama’s sandwiches, The Obama Hotel, Obama bananas.
The bus continues towards the border with Uganda. When we got off the bus, more than thirty people storm at us. Asking if we would change our Kenyan shillings into Ugandan money. The border shows that Uganda is more poor than Kenya, less organised and very busy. After paying the fees for visa we discover that the bus had gone. After long looking we find the bus on the other side of the border but still waiting for us.
The yellow tones change into orange brown. We enter a Forrest. After the third Christmas Home Alone movie we stop in a shady area of Kampala.
Jan tells me that he already saw the Priest that would take us to the Apostles of Jesus. He is even waving! We walk with him but I doubt. This man doesn't look like a Priest! He is a taxi driver!. As we wait longer a very serious man walks towards us. It’s Father Julius.
I wake up in a small room. Slowly I try to see what time it is. It’s 6am and the church has already started. The next week will wake up with gospel songs by refugees from Congo.
The Apostles of Jesus Mazoldi House is mostly used as a last resort for elder priests. It's also a place where failed priests get sent to. It is also a hostel. And two classrooms with antique sewing machines. There is also a room for computer lessons. Father Julies wishes to build more classrooms. He proudly points at the back of the Mazoldi House where the new rooms should be built.
We try to catch his dreams on video, in hope finding sponsors or other schools that can provide him with equipment.

04 The Classroom
Slowly I walk towards breakfast when I meet Noah. The Technical Assistant of the computer room. He is a Masai that came to the big city to study ICT. In return for his education he helps with computers, printers and Internet. For already a few days he has asked me to give a lesson about Social Media, but never a date was planned. Till now.
Noah: “ Good morning Rogier Paul”.  (gives a hand)
Rogier:“ Goodmorning Noah. How are you today”  (takes his hand)
Noah: “Oh, Oh I have to show you my classroom” . (starts leading me to the classroom)
Rogier: “Now? Let’s first have some breakfast”.
Noah: “No No. I only show you where I teach, then we have some breakfast.”
I walk with him and enter a full classroom. More then 40 black faces are looking at me as if they see the earth collapsing. And me too actually. They all look like each other. Are sitting so silently in the class. To be educated by me.
Noah: “Go ahead, teach us something about internet. Tell us something about your life. You have a girlfriend? What football club do you support?”
Two hours are passing unnoticed. Before I was afraid how to fill the time . But once underway, it starts to flow. A huge and strange experience to teach things you have learned  before.
Students walk in and out all the time. Without any explanation. More lessons are given at the school and some students just shop around from one lesson to another, from car repair to internet-skills.
The classes are full of windows. Sometimes on both sides. Because lighting is not available. The children are not the easiest. Haven’t had the best conditions in life. Some of them are ex drugs addicts living in the slobs. Some are from Masai families. People that has come from far to join here the Technical School, for free. But without any experience in education and life skills. As a white person teaching a class about social media and the future of internet seems stupid. Money to go to the cyber cafe? I don’t even have money to sent my family. You teaching me to spend my very last cent on social media? These whites are crazy.
But there is so much free education on internet. These days you can enter class rooms that teach about anything you want to learn. Ill People  study in hospitals via the Internet. Free videos are available that show how to repair a car. Or how to set up a bussines. Where and how to apply for money.
Skype? What is it? Can you eat it?
You can even call for free everyone in the world, via internet.
Some kids look up immediately.
A guy who was staring out of the window  takes his pen and starts to write.

03 Diani Beach
We go for a small breakfast along the road. Chicken and goats are passing by. As if they walk towards the kitchen. The cafeteria is built around a tree. A drunk man staggers towards us. His first question is whether we could buy him a drink. We do so and soon a conversation takes place. If we could take him to Europe. No problem, his wife and kids would stay here. A desperate boy but  also has obviously drunk too much. What do you give as an answer? Wisely or weak, I zip my mouth and listen. The dark big eyes of this boy are desperately trying to hear a solution from us. Jan asks what his talent is. The man answers that he hasn’t one. But then he thinks. And start singing and dancing around us. He is almost falling on the ground. The other guys make fun of him. His way to earn money might be a dance or singing a song along the road for the few tourists that are passing by.
Gratefully he shakes our hands but dissapointed we couldn’t take him to Europe. What can you do else than giving an advise. We can talk easy, I realize. But what would our answer mean to him?
We continue our travel to Mombassa. Mombasa rushes. Everywhere are people. In this city the ships are coming from everywhere. We are waiting for the ferry to an island. We are heading towards Diani Beach, that is around half an hour of Mombasa.  Hundreds of people are waiting for the ferry in the most wonderful colors, even stronger during sunset.
Diani Beach is kwown as a populair touristic place. People for a beach holiday lock themselves up in one of the resorts for a quiet holiday. We are in maybe the most beautiful one. Sunset Villa with hundreds of palm trees, Jacuzzi and a beautiful swimming pool. We are here to make a commercial video and will stay a week. Another Africa.
Behind these walls life is good. Perfect even. It’s green. Not too warm because there is shadow of the palm trees and not to forget the swimming pool. A private cook that buys the food in a huge supermarket. But when when Jan and I go out for dinner we are got two bodyguards with us, on behalf of the kindly owner.
JayJay and Reagan don’t separate from us. Only when you enter the door of the bathroom. Security reasons just for safety. And it’s true after a week I did felt a moment unsafe. According to Reagan there are a lot of woman that wear sexy dresses but when going back home they put Burka on. Covered they go home.
The next day we start to film  monkeys that pass by everyday at exactly half past five. For white people they are less afraid, the owner tells us. And it’s true, they come so close that you almost can touch them. But for the camera they seem to be more afraid. Cameras look like guns. Already soon we become friends with our taxi driver Joshua. On his business card is another name written: Six Finger. Because on his right hand is an extra finger. A gift of god, he tells proudly.
But the man doesn't say much. Only if you ask him. He has been a priest but discovered that the congregation kept more money to themselves. He decided to leave. And became a taxi driver. He adopted eight children but couldn't afford to take care of them and to provide the education they needed. He brought them behind the wings of cousins and nephews. Jan had an interview with him that you can watch on this site.
Another story of this Bob Marley kind of boy is that he for almost four years  earned his money by pretending he felt out a palm tree and must go to a hospital. Jan met him a few days after I did. To Jan he said he was hit by a motorcycle. But many tourists come back and know his trick.  To them he kindly ask if he can get a pain-killer.
The contrast between poor and rich is huge. But not to forget the resorts are bringing work and money to a lot of people. Without naive tourists there would be no food for this man. Without the owner of the resort I won’t have learned so much of this area. I’m glad he likes the video.
We leave The Indian Ocean, where you can walk far into because the shallow soil. This place remains in heart.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It’s morning. Early we had to wake up said Joseph. The Priest Father Joseph has been taking care of us the past couple of days. Just near Nairobi is the The Technical School is full of life. Never I saw a drivingschool where they teach with dinkey toys how to drive. On a large table are students learning who to give way and the different traffic signs. The carpenters are making benches in the burning sun. And next to it is Agnes standing in the kitchen. Teaching how to cook in a team. Dinner is simple with rice, soup, potatoes and spinach.
Yesterday we had chicken. This didn’t last very long. The oil can make stomachs that are not used to it upset. Something that happens to most people from Europe who are coming to Eastern Africa. But this becomes easier when eating in small quantities. This is in contradiction with the people that want to fill up your plate as much as possible. Our apartment that I’m sharing with Jan van der Meer is the best of it. The paint on the wall is still fresh. The toilet is still leaking but for sure everything is done to make a pleasant stay. And this is one of the the key elements to get more teachers to Africa. In change for classes of the profession of the teacher in change for a pleasant stay. Culture and an unbelievable experience. And it works. It’s 7AM we are early today. As requested because we will drive today to Mombasa. Another big city on 8 hours driving from Nairobi. We could drive with Pater Joseph and two other priests. They were heading that direction for a reception. The road to Mombasa is not as dangerous as it used to be. The old road got replaced for a better one next to it. But save is not the right word. The long, straight road is occupied by trucks and busses that all take over without caution. Another Priest even became scared as again another truckdriver took over from the opposite direction. On the last moment the opposite truckdriver could turn sidewards. A good end. An exception maybe because during the two day roadtrip I have counted 6 trafficaccidents. One truck was totally burnt out and another truck had to turn off the road and crashed against a tree. Father Joseph calms us with the words ‘Jesus loves us’. But I’m the only one that does not believe in god. I think and come to the conclusion that maybe I should believe. Maybe only until we are in Mombasa. I don’t want to be the non believer on a dangerous road with 3 fathers in the car who are relaxing because God protects us. But it also has an incredible atmosphere. Sitting in the middle between the two fathers. No air-conditioning. Driving, Driving. The same songs. One long never ending road in the burning sun. Sometimes the road change in the old unpaved road. And this maybe explains why Almost every car has in painted letters the sentences ‘God bless me’ or ‘Believer’, ‘Success’ and ‘if it’s your day. It’s your day’. Along the road we even see a big Puma laying. Hit by a car. There is a lot of wild here. Besides groups of deers we also see zebra’s. The sun turns orange again. It’s getting dark and we won’t reach Mombassa today. We stop at a motel that is laying on the old road to Mombasa. This is saver. We park the car and go in our rooms. With 4 locks and a prison door is it just as a highly secured prison. Inside even more. Big Beatles walking in the toilet. Rats are running on the roof. A toilet without water. We speak until deep at night to overrule the other sounds. We can hear each other because all the prisonrooms share the same roof. The words make soon place for snoring.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
01 A Warm Bath
The colors in the sky are orange and become slowly pink. It reminds me of the first opening scenes of the Lion King. Is this the light of the continent where I will live in for the next three months? As the night falls we are landing at Nairobi International airport. The airport is busy and in the main hall there are small places where you could pray. For muslims but also for christians. To my surprise there seem to be lot of believers. Father Joseph is one of them. A pater who built a technical university with campus in 1985. He started with one classroom. Now three hundred students are studying or working in a huge campus with churches. There is a driving school, a school where they make chairs of wood, a hotelschool, as well as s cookingschool. We pay our visa that was around 50 euros. In the window I see a family of unknown people who are shouting and waving at us. Do they know us? I ask myself. We take our luggage of the band and we walk towards them. Just like a family they run towards us.

She is still emotional about it. Her passion to help and to built this school for the future of this country is huge. She is making her way through obstacles like difficult children and people to handle. Young people who don’t want to learn sometimes or who don’t want to receive orders from a white woman.  Next to Agnes is a laughing father Joseph. With a beer in his hand is full interest looking at the magic tricks of Jan. The trick to disappear a piece of paper in a sleeve is obviously his favorite. Next to him is someone who was already sitting there before we came. A young friendly man that immediately introduced himself. Around the table hundreds of people are passing by. Some sell jam. A puppeteer dances gentle with a puppet as if it’s his wife. So many people are very shy. It’s an interesting contrast. The people who laugh at you and come to introduce themselves and the people that look suspicious at you. What are they doing? Why are they here. But the ice can break fast if you can show something interesting or if you just keep smiling. Just as they do.

As if we have been a long time from home. What a strange and wonderful feeling. As family we sit all together in this big 4x4 drive. They have been talking about us for a long time it seems. In a restaurant in Nairobi we have dinner and talk about our expedition in Africa. It’s almost three months ago I got asked by my former camera teacher Jan van der Meer to join him on an unforgettable travel through eastern Africa. Off course I had my doubts. Africa is a thirdworld country. I had to get five injections. 3 months malaria pills, including their hallucinations. A country of extremes it seems with both lions and elephants. Perhaps that was why I felt so attracted to this whole plan.  I was watching video’s of my teacher when I got really convinced. Besides the music clips. the video’s of the incredible Masai. there were the projects of Voluntourism.

Tourists who prolong the duration of their holiday to work and built during their stay abroad. I wanted to film this and to interview these people about their motivations. So I said yes. And here I am. It’s 10PM Nairobi time. One of the guys who has come to pick us up is John. This 28 year old man from Uganda is studying to become just like the Pater Joseph. A very friendly and funny man. Nothing you had expect of a Priest.  Next to him is sitting an missionary. There are three things he can’t do such as having sex or taking things for himself. He doesn’t like to obey all the time. He has to do what others ask and need. But stronger than this he feels that the most he loves in his life is god. So if there is someone in need or someone asks him to help, he comes, wherever it is. His mission will not know any borders he assures me. It’s very special to talk so deeply in the first hour that we met. I feel very welcome although I can’t deny that I feel like mr. Living stone. Everybody is looking at us I told to my teacher Jan. But he has no problems adjusting to the environment. The always so happy camera educator jokes with Father Joseph about some crazy magic tricks. Because with magic you create a band with people. You break the ice with people who are shy. Jan will teach children so they can make money out of it. Everybody loves it and wants to learn it. Even people from the other side of the street laugh hard. In front of him is eating Agnes. A passionate woman who made her dream come true. She has set up a cooking school. She got money from investors in The Netherlands. In a few weeks they will come over and start to built a new professional kitchen.
The people who sell things are very friendly. Even when you don’t buy they still wish you a very nice evening. After having dinner we drove with Joseph african music to the campus of the Technical school. Here we will stay for at least a couple of days. On the side of Nairobi it’s dark. Very dark. Only stars are there to let us find the apartment. Still some birds are singing. I close my mosquito net. I stare at it. Hearing the words of John. You will see so much. You will learn so much of us. And you will be so exited. More then you already am. Curious I try to sleep. But I can’t and turn around and around. It’s warm. A musquito lands on the net. Ha, he can’t get me.