In the six days that I have been in Cameroon, I have had no running water for five of them, lost electricity for one, and during all six have had a variety of technical difficulties with the kid’s video projects. Welcome to Africa.
For the most part, these incidents have been minor and easily dealt with. No running water? Buy some bottled water so you don’t die of heat stroke and simply just forget about bathing for a little while. No electricity? Go out and do something or, if is the middle of the night, grab a flashlight and read, or simply go to bed. The only issues that are major ones are the ones that actually hinder my goal of helping these kids make some stellar videos.
It all seemed like a simple enough task to start with. All I had to do was charge the cameras, put their software on the computers, get the kids to begin filming, and then have them upload their footage and edit it. Okay, maybe not super simple since it is difficult to get kids to manage their time efficiently, but that was literally my only concern going into this. How very silly I was. I have only one word that should sum up the majority of my problems: viruses. That one thing has blown my beautiful plan to little bitty shreds. The cameras’ software was corrupted. Fortunately, we got it onto one of the computers before that happened. Unfortunately, it was the one computer without a sound card. No sound card = no editing. I bet you guys are thinking that the solution to this is easy! Simply upload the videos on that computer and then transfer them to the others. But wait! The videos are in the wrong file format. Well let us just convert them shall we? Oh noes, we don’t have any software that converts files! I guess we will need to download one. One day later I actually have said software, but for some reason after the files go onto my USB in the correct format, when they arrive at the school they are not. This is very odd. I feel as if someone is testing my patience and resourcefulness. I also think that it is all because of the viruses that seem to have taken over my beautiful USB. Luckily, I have the entire weekend to sort out this issue before the kids have any actual footage to edit on Monday. I’m hoping everything will work out, and the optimistic part of me says it will. I just hope that that side of me stays in the forefront.
I would be lying if I said that any of this has been easy;
it has been bloody difficult. However, I would also be lying if I said that I
didn’t know what I was signing up for, that I wasn’t warned about the lack of
water and how everything in Africa is just a little bit harder and takes a lot
longer to do. Still being warned
about the trials and living them are two very different things. Despite all
this whining, as some might call it, I am very grateful to be here. How many
people get an opportunity to go to a foreign country to teach?
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