Friday, January 18, 2013

Swaziland Part 3 - behind the scenes

The Swaziland video projects started like most good trips, we went in with a plan that was almost completely demolished once we were on the ground.  Many of the stories we sought out to capture did not exist or were not accurate for the people we were interacting with.  We scrapped all but 2 of these projects (the Caregiver video and the 25 Portraits) and created 6 more as we found them.  A bit hair raising at times, but fun none the less.  "Why plan in the first place," I sometimes wonder...but our original plans pushed us in the right direction for the videos we eventually come back with.  Some dropped in our laps, while others were a bit harder to draw out.

The main video to come out of the project was a profile on Shortie, but we were also able to create several other videos that showed daily life in Swaziland, the type of people that are in the communities, how some of the kit products are used (and needed) as well as a case study in how an organization like World Vision needs people from many sectors with many skills to even place these kits in the hands of the Caregivers.  Hopefully this last lesson hit home and people feel validated that God can use their gifts and talents for His Kingdom.

Leading the team was a great honor, and a very humbling experience.  As I lead more, I realize leading is not about having all the answers (or even knowing how to do everything) but more about making what needs to happen...actually happen.  My leadership style (although still forming) has become one of collaboration; where I pull on many opinions and insights to make a decision for the next steps.  On this trip, this skill was invaluable as I relied on everyone's role, and their abilities to pull off what we did.  

I trusted my twentyonehundred teammates; Amy and David to shoot what needed to be shot in order to gather the visuals for the story. And I was no where near disappointing, in fact...more like proud.

I relied on Sandra (the Urbana Worship Leader) to play the "front woman" and allow us to observe and find the story as she interacted with our hosts.  (She was such a great person for the job, a family GAVE her a chicken, a huge honor!)

I relied on Nikki (Urbana Program Director) for insight into how the stories we were gathering fit into the program, as well as our many brain storming sessions to decide which stories to pursue.

I relied on Dana and Debbie (from World Vision) to fill us in on the World Vision logistics and help entertain people when we needed time (and quiet) to get our story.  

And I relied on Bongi; our driver, fixer, translator, narrator, "pilot", and way we could have done it as smoothly as we did without him.  

It was amazing to see everyone come together to do whatever was need to be done for whatever came our way, a true example of team. Holding umbrellas for the camera (and not ourselves) back massages, long waits, sacrificing a jacket for someone (me) who forgot his, and more I probably do not know about...

It was hard to fathom why I was chosen to direct, as there were several others on the team that are far more qualified and experienced to lead this trip.  But, talking with them, they pointed out that I was the only one that understood both sides to the trip; the video side, and the Urbana side.  I was thankful for the opportunity to grow.

A hearty "siyabonga" out to the other way we would have produced the 8 shows that we did without all our efforts.

(L to R: David, Amy, Dana, Bongi, me, Sandra, Debbie, and Nikki.)

See Part 1 for more about the Caregiver video and part 2 for more on the 25 portraits.

This project was never about aim is to just offer with what God has gifted me with.


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