Production Team Work Days, Up Close and Personal

Yikes, emotions can run deep and wild through these days among the women.  Thank goodness I was paired with a team of creative and high energy, fun loving, laid back and talented individuals.  Every day we headed out of the hotel at 8:00, 8:30, 11:00 am, packed into a van with Brandi, Receiver of Chickens and Goats, and her mother, Teri, Resource for All The Things.  They were our wonderful leaders and the heart and organization of the group. We’re joined with the amazing videography team – Justin, Canaan, Eric & Jocelyn, the photography team – Ashton, Branden & Tiffani, and the writers - KeziaSammi and myself.  And finally, the local interpreters – Rita, Sam, Esther and Pastor Moses.  I’ll wait while you go and click on all their social media links and get distracted by all the awesomeness that they produce.  It’s been such a joy and privilege getting to serve among all of them!

 

 Ennu Rita, amazing woman of God who works for Beauty for Ashes Uganda, weekly traveling to all the villages, serving, encouraging, inspiring, teaching and loving on all the mamas and their children

Ennu Rita, amazing woman of God who works for Beauty for Ashes Uganda, weekly traveling to all the villages, serving, encouraging, inspiring, teaching and loving on all the mamas and their children

Pastor Moses, translator, incredible man of God who shepherds many of these mamas and children

 

So, a little insight into what it was like to be part of the production team and travel from village to village.  Every morning we packed into a van that seats about 15, along with all the camera & video equipment, as well as water bottles, Coke, Sprite and Fanta.  With straws only.  Because the bottles are redistributed.  Yummy, a little extra kick to their drinks.  And bags and bags of Dum Dums - never underestimate the morale booster of a dum dum.    

 


We then travel about an hour or more beyond Soroti on potholes with brief stretches of flat ground in between.  These we call roads.  Who needs amusement parks for entertainment when you have these kinds of wild rides in your own backyard!  Driving itself is an adventure here, even on good roads.  Two lanes, one lane, flat grass… it’s really all the same and the more the merrier seems to apply here – vehicles, bikers, cows, whatever.  


And speaking of driving, shout out to another indispensible member of our team, our driver Alan.  He is a superhero for navigating and keeping us alive.  

 

We pile out of the van, party at a village, pile back into the van, drink, eat, repeat.  Lunch has been anything from bread with peanut butter on it to beef and vegetable samosas.  At the villages, the photographers take images of village life and then individual photos of each mama and her children in the program.  Videographers interview 1-2 women and film village life as well.  

 

 

We writers get to join in the celebration and then go off to the side and meet 1-2 mamas on a more personal level, listen to their life story and minister when we can. One of my favorite things to do on the entire trip is pray with these mamas at the end of their sharing time with me.  It is hard to have such brief time with these women after they have been so vulnerable and me only respond with a “thank you for sharing.”  I wish I could visit again next week, bring coffee, talk and listen to more, call during the week, encourage, offer to babysit, offer suggestions for work, pray… just be a friend like at home.  That would be the normal response after someone has been so transparent, sweet and in need, but we don’t have that luxury.  So we try to pray and be a friend in the moment, trust God to meet us and offer hope and courage.  What an honor.  And they minister right back to us, as friends do.  It’s a sweet time of mutual edification as I am inspired in so many ways by their testimonies.

 

And then we head back to Soroti in the evenings.  With chickens and goats on the van roof.  Or hanging off the side, but that’s for another post.

Michelle NeeseComment