The first day wreaked of havoc from the beginning. I arrived into a tightly packed classroom of 71 students only to discover my fly was down. As I turned around to subtly pull it back up, I realized the zipper was broken. Great. Not only that, but the speakers, laptop, and everything I had prepared weren’t exactly going to work all to well in a brightly sun-lit classroom, with one plug.
Things turned around quickly though. We moved the class into a much larger room, found an extension cord, and started to project images and multimedia onto a white sheet. The rest of the week has been golden… sort of.
To give you a little background, I’m here in land of 1000 hills, otherwise known as Rwanda, teaching multimedia and online journalism. I’m currently at the National University of Rwanda in Butare, and following that, I’ll be at the Great Lakes Media Center in Kigali for three weeks.
I was brought here by Rwanda Initiative, a Canadian NGO that recruits teachers from all over, and brings them to Rwanda to teach.
So far, the biggest challenge has been supplies. I came with several cameras in tow, donated by the Toronto Star, but even combined with those, we have 7 working point and shoots for 71 journalism students… not exactly ideal.
At the University sits a box of old Nikon D1s that have been donated from media organizations all over the world …none of them are working.
So, we’re doing what we can. Groups of 10 are going out with one camera, and learning to build sequences, shooting wide, medium and tight, how to white balance, shoot environmental portraits, features, and photo essays. They’re
excited, and so am I. Each day, the pictures improve ten fold.
All in all, things have been great so far. The students are very attentive, and have learnt quickly to come to class on time after realizing I was serious about blocking the door with a desk at 8:35 each morning. Deadlines are deadlines:)