In late 2016 I reached out to the non-profit organization in San Diego, Outside the Lens, to see if I could bring their exciting photography course to Namibia. They said "yes" and have been awesome to work with since. In February 2017 I applied for a Peace Corps Partnership Program Grant which was approved by the Peace Corps Country Director and then completely funded within a week of going live on the website. I only asked for a modest $150 to be able to provide meals for the kids during the photography camp I planned to facilitate in March.
The March camp started with the teenagers introducing themselves, posing for a portrait, and telling everyone the kind of photographs they like to take or thought they might like to take. After the introductions ended the students were put into pairs and began learning camera basics and about the different vantage points photographers use for their photographs. By the end of the fourth day the students had built a portfolio of photographs they were excited to take home to share with family and friends.
"I am from" poems read by Keetmanshoop Namibia photography students
The committee traveled to Windhoek to hold a boot-camp training at Penduka the site of PCV Andy Garrison. We used the boot-camp to train members on our equipment; cameras, audio recorders, reflectors, camera settings, editing, lighting, etc. It was hands-on training that culminated in the production of our latest release, a Peace Corps Volunteer Purpose Video (watch above), as we've called it. The film was edited by Nathaniel Hein and shot by various members of the committee over the course of two days.
Penduka is a non-governmental development organization working with women in Namibia. Penduka is based in Katutura, the former black township of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia
Goldwave approached me a while back asking if I could help them shoot their first music video. At the time I was pretty busy with school and was still trying to figure out my new life in Keetmanshoop. A few months later and it's done and polished. I helped produce the video but much of the credit goes to Robert who did most of the filming and editing. I was there with the equipment and to offer assistance. Robert is working hard to make a name for himself with his own brand of music and he's also quite interested in making videos so this was an awesome opportunity for him to get started.
Goldwave has been around for awhile with a few songs to their name, but never had the resources to get a video made. Of course they are very excited to now have something they can share and build on. They sing in their native Nama tongue which is a member of the Khoisan click languages. I think everyone on set learned some new skills that day that they can carry forward in one pursuit or another, myself included.
In December of 2015 the DPT (Director of Programming) for Peace Corps Namibia put out a notice to all volunteers that HQ in Windhoek wanted a volunteer driven media committee (MC) and any interested volunteer should attend an informational meeting. Shortly after we had our nine person committee off and running. Fast forward to Monday November 14th, 2016 the day we released our first committee produced video (above).
The MC has worked almost a year to build a charter, media plan, and strategy. The MC's goal is to use media to connect and share the Peace Corps experience with Americans and Namibians (Peace Corps goals 2&3). Our committee of PCVs have played a key role in the design and vision of the MC. We are a key target audience, and the generators of most of the content.
Thanks to some generous funding from Peace Corps Namibia HQ we were able to buy much needed camera equipment that arrived in October to assist in meeting our goal. The Chair and myself spent quite a few hours putting together and refining the list of equipment we thought necessary, which included a video camera, lenses, stabilizers, filters, audio recording equipment, memory cards, external storage, and more.
This first video (of many we hope) was shot in Swakopmund, Namibia over the course of two days by a team of six committee members. My contribution to the video was being one of the camera operators and much of the post-production.