Films

This week has been very interesting. Of course, mangoes still needed to be processed, but aside from that, we also had a few new arrivals to the farm. One was the CEO of Africa StartUp (which is the umbrella name for the organization MyFarm is a part of). With her, she brought a Dutch filmmaker. Their goal for the week was to turn MyFarm’s newspaper, How To Make Money, into a short film.

There were quite a lot of shots to be filmed, and the majority of them took place on the farm. To make the shots go a bit smoother there was also a group of Gambian actors in our midst. It was pretty fun watching how the shots were set up among all of the crops and equipment around the farm. The most fun, however, came when our volunteer from the UK, Martin, and I were asked to be the token Toubabs (the Gambian term for white people) in one scene. Both of us will of course have signed head shots upon our return to our home countries. Martin was then asked to be in another scene acting as a customer of the farm’s products, at which point he determined that he was a star and those of us who wanted to eat lunch with him would now have to pay a fee, as the seats were in high demand. I told him to put it on my tab.

Filming kept going until the minute the CEO had to leave for her flight on Friday. It sounds like all the shots were completed, which is good news for those involved. The filmmaker estimates that it will be done in a month or two, when it will then be released online.

I also got a chance this week to visit Starfish International, a Gambian non-profit which strives to empower young girls in the Gambia by paying for their school fees and offering classes outside of school to improve the confidence they have in themselves. While there, I helped one of the mentors plan out how she and the girls will make the outside of their buildings greener by planting flowers, herbs, and local vegetables. I brought them a few plants donated by MyFarm to help them get started, including mint, lemongrass, and flower seeds. Hopefully they will be able to finish a few things before the rainy season is underway!

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Some of the Starfish girls doing large group icebreakers before class.

I also got the chance to sit it on one of the classes being taught by volunteers from Santa Clara University. Being the film star that I am, I of course chose the drama class. The volunteer, Maura, had us do breathing exercises, stretches, and tongue twisters to warm up. Then we went outside to do a trust exercise where one partner had to close their eyes, while the other partner guided them around. When it was time for me to return to the farm, each student gave me a big hug as if we had known each other forever instead of a few hours. It was so amazing getting to spend time with these students. Their passion for their education and Starfish is clear, and it is hard to keep a smile off your face while in their company.

Back at the farm, my boss’ two kids are almost done with their school for the summer. They are already asking about film night, which usually occurs on a Friday, but I assume will happen again some evening this week. I’m perfectly fine with that; the next film might be Night at the Museum. We set up a small projector on the ground floor of the school building (the second floor being where my bed is), bring out chairs, and share some snacks. It’s a good way to spend an evening as a group. Here’s to hoping I get one more before leaving next Saturday!

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