I am most appreciative of the simplicity that lies in being able to travel to Liberia.
For a 16 year old to gain such an experience and develop an increasing global and cultural perspective is a blessing I will not take for granted. The value in this takes forms in many ways - too many to explain, but never too many to be thankful for.
Throughout my internship the people surrounding me lived very different lives than I. Despite the differences, the human characteristics they showed and employed in daily life created a mind shift that I will strive to maintain.
While I was in Liberia I noticed many traits in the people, but one trait that was eminent throughout all was optimism.
Amidst the Liberian people's daily challenges and struggles, everyone displayed a sense of hope. They may have been poor, hungry, struggling, sick - anything or any combination - and they still had a smile on their face, ready to tackle the day. Now don't get me wrong, the pain in their eyes was apparent as well.
From this experience I am able to learn a lot. I would consider myself to be an optimist, but that same trait has roots in multiple other characteristics.
For example, I saw stemming from that optimism was determination, perseverance, gratitude, and acceptance. This showed me that I need to be more appreciative for what I've been given, despite what my hopes were/are. Alongside this, I've learned that my challenges are small comparatively. I may be having difficulties with something such as deadlines, but I am not fighting for my next meal.
Everything was put into perspective.
I know that this time in Africa has and will [continue to] change my. My goals have not changed, they've only been elevated. Additionally, the rewards of accomplishing such goals will be redirected towards helping the Liberian people and their situation.
Due to my internship’s properties, an iPOL presentation has not happened yet. I have the details worked out and I will be giving a presentation, just later on.
On the aspect of preparation & material, here goes:
I will be showing my documentary and explaining the location, experience, mission, and provide details on my interned organization.
A combination of video editing, oral presentation, and reflective skills will be eminent throughout the process. I plan to go as in depth as my audience would like and answer as many questions as possible; after all I loved this entire experience wholeheartedly.
Communication is key.
The employment of communication is key regardless of the situation, but it's an especially important aspect of filmmaking. When operating in run and gun style of filmmaking communication allows your vision to be established and come true. Even more so, the location only ups the need for communicative skills.
Being in Liberia, everyone on the ‘team’ is positioned in a foreign environment, this applies stress to the need for communication, planning, and being aware of the situation.
As the filmmaker/photographer in this environment it was essential that I tell my colleagues my thoughts and ideas in order to accomplish the vision.
On the topic of self-advocacy, it's a two way street. Communication and self-advocacy go hand in hand, especially when trying to make the best products possible.
My internship has been incredible; the experience along with the final product are both items that I'm proud of and I know will
be happy looking back it. The vision of my project never changed. I planned to make a documentary first, and then move on to the other videos and that's exactly what happened. I've been able to film, photograph, edit, story craft, and I’ve utilized many different skills in a social and artistic aspect.
Alongside this, my cultural and global perspective has been changed and influenced from my experience in Liberia.
The documentary gives insight into the educational system in Liberia, and then moves into how Saint Paul has affected this issue and impacted the community.