Monday, December 17, 2012

Amazing musician in Kibera

What is lacking in the slums is not ability but opportunity:

 I tried to track the guy down the following day to see if he could play the White Stripe's Seven Nation Army but he was hard to find. Maybe next time?

Peace, Patrick


I spent the day with Devis Kabala, a Kibera resident who took part in the protests of 2007/8. Devisio, as his friends call him, was very open about his participation, and spoke honestly about what compelled him to take part in the fracas.

Devis shows me the path he took with many others after the 2007 election results were announced

Interviewing Devis in his home
Devis, his wife and daughter happen to live in a home that was previously owned by a Kikuyu who fled the area and has never returned. There are many such homes that were abandoned, and many who live in them do not pay rent. Devis knew the guy who escaped and actually helped him move. He pays rent to the landlord who also happens to be a Kikuyu.

He had a lot of insight about why the youth get involved in political violence, and why he thinks some politicians are the biggest perpetrators of violence in Kenya (Watch 20:34 to 22:38 here).

I have since added some of his incredible footage to the documentary

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mapito (Title Song for Documentary)

What can I say? This guy's voice is simply amazing. Here is a sample:

I gave Kwame the rough cut of "Kenya: Until Hope is Found" which he watched 3 times and then sent me the following text message:

I can't stop asking myself how is it going to be like? I'm seated here trying to figure out what will happen to Mwende in Mathare slum, Kamau in Kisumu, Otieno in Naivasha, Koech in Kibera ...
This is not good brother, not good at all ... 3 months to elections and Kenyans are still struggling with their bitterness ...

With Kwame Rigii recording @ Ogopa Deejays Studios in South B, Nairobi

The result was a beautiful song that we recorded acapella because I felt that instrumentation would have taken away from it's power. I can't wait to share it with the world. Many Thanks to the great talented soul that is Kwame Rigii.

Peace, Patrick

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I met with Paschalia Nduko yesterday. On Monday, Dec 17th, I will share "Kenya: Until Hope is Found" with her for the first time.

Here a 5-minute excerpt:

I will also meet with the chairman of the Langata District Peace Committee to discuss a screening of the documentary in Kibera on Wednesday, Dec 19th.

Peace y'all, Patrick

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ogopa Deejays

Today I recorded some narration at Ogopa Deejays studios in South B, just a few houses down from the home of my youth. I remember when Lucas (founder of Ogopa Deejays) was just a teenager, working on mastering the drum machine at the church basement after choir practice was over, and DJing at parties to make some extra cash. Now he's one of the most sought-after producers in the region. Dreams, merged with persistent effort, do come true.

Is this thing on?

For those of you who watched "Kenya: Until Hope is Found" in the states, the narration is now very different. I feel that it has helped to personalize the film quite a bit, which is something I resisted yet so many of you suggested I do. I look forward to sharing it with y'all down the line.

Tomorrow I present the documentary to 40 youth from diverse communities in Kitengela town. The event is being hosted by the Coexist Initiative, and they have also invited members of the media to attend. I'm really excited about the screening and following discussion. More on that tomorrow.

For now, I sleep. I have spent a large part of the past few days editing the documentary, and while I'm really proud of it, I'm also very tired. This makes me think me of an awesome reminder I saw on facebook:

Even better? Laughing in your sleep

Peace, Patrick

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Threat of Political Violence in Kenya

Here's an article I came across this morning by IRIN Africa News about the upcoming elections in Kenya. It is very sobering. Definitely a must-read.

From the article: "People need to be sensitized on national unity and, at the same time, given the skills to be able to address their grievances without necessarily finding comfort in their tribal groupings (italics mine)."

Another excerpt from the IRIN story: "I don’t know who will win the elections, but you can still be attacked, because politicians are already saying ‘our people must get this post or another’, but the poor people we live with here believe in what they say and will take their word for it."

And on the cover of today's Standard Newspaper:

Saturday Nation, December 8th, 2012

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. May we all use it wisely.

As always, Peace. Patrick

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kuona Trust

I arrived at Kuona Trust Art Centre at 10:45 a.m. Mukoma Wa Ngugi, son of Ngugi Wa Thiongo and Assistant Professor at Cornell University was hosting a "Cultural and Literary Criticism" forum for print journalists.  The event was hosted by the African Arts Journalists' Network.

I shared the first version of "Kenya: Until Hope is Found" with the group.

After the screening, we had a great discussion about the purpose of the film ("A very brave film," one journalist said) and looked at ways that I could improve on it to make it more relevant for Kenyan audiences. The consensus was that I should include more narration to personalize the film, as I am in it.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi shares his insights about the film with the class

I am very grateful for the invitation to the forum, and I really appreciated the feedback I received. It has helped me to sharpen my thinking about the film, and gave me lots to ponder as I edit a version to share widely within Kenya. As with all of my presentations, I ended with a demonstration of the stress-relief tapping technique, Faster EFT. All of this was God doing for me what I could not do for myself:


Peace, Patrick

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cut Off My Tongue

Last night my brother Duncan and I had dinner at poet and social activist Betty Muragori's home. Betty, also known as Sitawa Namwalie, is one of the most insightful and prolific writers I know. 3 years ago, Duncan gave me a copy of her book, "Cut Off My Tongue," just as I was leaving Kenya for Rwanda to show "ICYIZERE: hope" throughout the country with the 2009 Rwanda Film Festival. The first week of the festival, which lasted a fortnight, took us to 7 rural towns in 7 days, and the 2nd week was spent showing films at various venues in Kigali, Rwanda's capital city.

I was sitting in a minivan that  transported filmmakers and festival crew members across the country  when I pulled out my copy of Betty's book. Conversation had died down, and I was looking for something to pass the time. As I skimmed through the contents, I came across a poem titled "Would You?"

Would you wield a machete in Burnt Forest,
Cut a Stranger down?
Slash a man as he pleads with you for his life,
Lead the crowd baying for his blood?

He cowered and cried out
Bleating like a lamb innocent of crime.
Death unwilling to take him,
He died long and hard, way before his time.
His blood waters your farm like acid rain.


Would you catch a running girl,
Escaping a church fir in Eldoret,
Place her roughly on the burning pyre,
Parody of tender father laying his baby girl
To sleep on Downy bed?


Would you turn against your neighbor's son?
The one who lent you Roiko in halcyon days,
The same who nursed your wounds,
And soothed your troubled heart?

Would you flush that son out of his hiding place,
Hand him over to certain death,
Ignore beseeching eyes of your neighbor-friend
Who stands too stunned to make a sound?
Now your own son is done.

Would you?

I closed the book, put my head in my lap, and quietly wept.
While what Betty was speaking of was Kenya in 2007/8, she might as well have been speaking about Rwanda in 1994.

Needless to say, being invited to her home was an honor. After we had dinner, I shared the first cut of "Kenya: Until Hope is Found" with Betty and Duncan, and their response was very encouraging. They gave me much to ponder as I fine-tune the video for audiences in Kenya.

Tomorrow I share the documentary with 12 journalists who are attending a "Cultural Criticism for Journalism" workshop @ Kuona Trust Arts Center. I was invited by Novelist, poet and literary scholar Mukoma Wa Ngugi. I am really looking forward to connecting with the attendees. Update coming soon.

Peace, Patrick

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Welcome to Kenya

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

I arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 1st.

Custom's dude @ the airport: Hello? What do you have in those bags?
Me: Some clothes and my camera equipment.
Dude: What are you doing with this equipment?
Me: I'm working on a documentary about healing from trauma after post-election violence.
Dude: Are you a press-man?
Me: No.
Dude: Where is your filming permit?
Me: I don't have one
Dude: Then we have to keep your equipment until you get a permit
Me: I find it hard to leave this equipment here after all the sacrifice it took to get it
Dude: Go talk to that lady (presumably his superior)

- - -

Lady: What are you using this equipment for?
(I explain what I did to dude)
Lady: But this happened five years ago!
Me: Yes, but the trauma has not gone away, and will not go away with time
Lady: How will it go away then?
Me: Through education about trauma and teaching various ways that we can heal
Lady: This is a very controversial film. You need a permit, and you need to leave your equipment with us until you get one.
Me: Please, madam, this is not agreeable with me
Lady: Go see that man in that office

- - -

Man in office: Where is your permit?
(The Dance repeats itself. 45 minutes in total)
Man: We'll let you go with your equipment, but you have to pay 1% of the equipment's cost, non-refundable

I pay, and scurry off to meet my father who has been patiently waiting, sipping coffee through a straw.

Karibu Kenya.