Tumaini Children's Home...
There's a Home for HIV-positive children, here in Nanyuki, called Tumaini Children's Home. It's managed by Italian people who, just like us, work within the Archdiocese of Nyeri. The home has strict rules to protect the children's privacy; you can't just walk in, and taking pictures is prohibited. A few years ago we went there to introduce ourselves and tell about our project. Then that was that. We were therefor plesantly surprised when we got a call from Catarina, the manager, who requested us to make a film on the daily life at Tumaini, to show to the sponsors in Italy.
And so we did; we went there a couple of times to film. The children live at Tumaini full time, except for the holidays, when they go back to stay with their families. The family members are often not capable to provide the care these children need.
At this moment Tumaini provides for 54 children from different (sometimes far) places and backgrounds. After having breakfast they all go to see the nurse for their drugs. Every child is being taught to look after his/hers own medication (being supervised), so that they also carefully take their drugs when they stay with their families during the holidays. After that the children are taken to school; different schools in Nanyuki (because of the different ages) and just amongst children who are not HIV-positive. After school they relax a bit with a cup of tea and do some small jobs, like polishing their shoes for next day and preparing the table for supper. After that it's taking drugs again, doing homework and then to bed.
To us it was quite an experience. The staff members all work very hard and show a lot of commitment and involvement.
Luckily the children were not shy at all while we were filming. They were running around, laughing and playing. It's impossible
to stay unperturbed when one sees such small hands being filled with drugs every day...
At this moment we are editing; not a "tear jerking" movie, but a realistic and positive film about Tumaini Children's Home.
The cabine is ready, the ambulance body has been spray painted and been put back on the chassis (not an easy job!)
The lights and indicators are working, and at this moment we're preparing to have the Unimog registered. Since the previous owner had it registered as a lorry, we have to re-register it as an ambulance. We're now waiting for the (ordered) wiperarms, the last requirement for the registration.
Driving the Unimog remains quite an adventure! Without the body on, it was not easy to keep your seat. Now everything moves smoothly, and you can feel the enormous power it has. A few weeks ago we moved our container and put it were we'd always wanted it to be from the time it arrived (6 years ago). But then, moving a big container is not easy job, and a hoisting crane is unheard of in Nanyuki! But this time we managed! With a couple of strong posts and some chains, pushing and pulling, it appeared to be a piece of cake for the Unimog!
Last week we started working on the interior; the first bench is almost ready, underneath it is space for amplifiers and other equipment. We really have to think how to make the most of the space available.
We've worked very hard on the mobile studio. Great news: it's running!! Everything is working again, the breaks, the power steering,
the engine sounds like a sowing machine! It was a big day when we had our first drive! The cabine has been spray painted and been
put back on the chassis. The window screens have been put back in, but we're not happy with the result yet, since the rubbers
don't fit nicely. We've now ordered the original rubbers, so it will be fine!
Coming week we'll start working on the body; once the front side of it has been painted, also this one can be put back on the chassis. Anyway, let the following pictures just speak for themselves...
Spray painting the tank...
Now doesn't that look cool?
14-Apr-2010: Moipei Quartet...
Big news to tell about the Maasai girls who recorded their forst album with us: THE CD HAS BEEN RELEASED!!! It's a CD with a bonus DVD "In the land of the lion". Some parts of the videoclips are shot here in our garden, and you can see the girls singing in our studio. The album has been internationally released, so you might bump into it somewhere! For those who are interested: one of the videoclips (Country Roads)can be watched on:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4F2q16bR9c (or just go to Youtube and then to Moipei Quartet).
What is also very nice: since a couple of weeks we have a new supermarket in Nanyuki, the Nakumatt. It's a chain of supermarkets situated throughout Kenya. The CD is in their shelves!! The girls are very happy with the result, and we're very proud of it!!
Workwise it has been, and still is, very quiet in the studio (way too quiet to our opinion!), so we are working hard on the mobile studio. The engine has had an overhaul, the radiator is fixed, and everything has been put back together again. The chassis is neatly painted, and now we can focus on the body and the cabine.
Two weeks ago we bought car paint, a warm and soft colour yellow (mat). It will be so smart!!! Next to that we are working on waterproofing and finishing the roof of the body, before we start spray painting.
Now the real fun begins, since finishing the cabine and the body gives great results, straight away, with everything you do. Once the cabine is spray painted and put back into place, all these small items, the "finishing touches", can be put back as well; the lights, the mirrors, dashboard, panels for the doors, and many, many more! Concerning the body, we can enjoy ourselves thoroughly, since there is still a lot that needs to be done!
6th of February 2010: We were asked to make a film for Pieter, a Dutch man living in Nanyuki, about his project for orphans, Watoto Visions. The project supports the children with relief food and schoolfees. Many of these children live with their grandparents, (often just a grandmother remaining), and have lost their parents through AIDS. On the first day of filming relief food would be distributed. Despite green surroundings, thanks to a couple of showers during the last weeks, there had been drought before for months, and all the crops had failed. The crops that were there in the fields now, were not yet ready to be harvested. Big bags with flour, rice and beans were opened and jugs appeared to measure oil. Seeing this long cue of people waiting for their turn, made a big impression on us.
The afternoon we spent with visiting some children at their homes. The excitement and joy over our visit formed a contrast to the
sad circumstances they live in; children, living with their gandmother, the graves of their parents in the back yard, next to the grave of
their grandfather. Another boy, living in a small hut, sharing his "bedroom" with a couple of sheep and goats. ( Last month Watoto Visions
has provided him with a new place to live!)
All and all a very impressive day.
Next to that we've also worked hard on the mobile studio. The first week of January we went to Nairobi to look for parts. A fruitful
trip and we bought a lot: new winders for the windows, an extra alternator and many more.
Although we had bought the Unimog in running condition, an overhaul turned out to be not too expensive, which made us decide to have one done. A good mechanic assisted us in taking everything apart and cleaning all the parts. The engine will be sent to Nairobi for the overhaul, after which we can put everything back together again. At least we'll know for sure that all is in good order when we start driving it!
Also we've made some neat panels for the doors. The next big thing on our list is spraypainting the cabine and body. Due to the weather however, (hot, windy and very dusty) we're gonna have to wait a bit with that for now.
3rd of December 2009: The mobile studio...
As you know, the British army had promised to sponsor us with some - not new, but still good, tires for the Unimog. And finally, last week they called: we could come and collect them. How happy we were when they turned out to be 4 brand new Goodyear tires. Even the stickers were still on it!!
At this moment we're working on the rims; removing all the layers of old paint and spraying them. Not an easy job, because the rims are big and very heavy! Also we're working on the bonnet. This one had an incredible amount of paint and filler on it, so a lot of scraping and sanding was involved. It is clean by now and just needs a bit of panel-beating here and there. It will be so smart once it is ready!
It has been a bit quiet regarding the recordings on HIV/AIDS, but this will change soon. A Dutch man who lives in Nanyuki, Pieter, has a project to support orphans. He has asked us to make a film about his project, to show to the sponsors. Among other things, we will do some filming at "Huruma", a home for HIV-positive orphans. It will bring some recorded materials for B'ware as well. We'll start filming in December.
The studio needed some maintenance. Very common here in Kenya are the so called "white ants". These ants eat their way through every piece of wood and timber they can find. These nasty buggers had decided that the walls of the studio would be their feast of the year!! The queen-ant often hides herself deeply into the ground. To get rid of the ants, one needs to dig up the queen and get rid of her first, but it was impossible to do that this time. Instead, we took out all the equipment of the studio and sprayed the whole area with some strong "ant killer". Apparently it has worked well, because there's no sign of any dudu left! And, we have to admit: the studio is very clean and neat again!
Next to the white ants, also "sausage flies" are very common here. These termites appear when it starts to rain after a longer period of drought. Especially in the evening, when the lights are turned on, hundreds, no even thousands of them emerge, out of nowhere it seems! They fly around a bit, but already after a few minutes their 4 little wings fall off. They continue their way, crawling and somehow desorientated, and then die. Birds absolutely love them, so do the dogs, and even some people eat them (yak)! After an 'air attack" like that, the next morning we usually find our veranda completely covered with their wings and small dead bodies...
Birds fly on and off for the rest of the day to feast upon the delicacy. Even birds that you normally don't see very often.
They are not afraid of nothing and no one! Sometimes they pass so closely, they make your hair fly!
We would like to wish all of you a merry Christmas and a very HAPPY AND HEALTHY 2010!!
See you in the new year!!!!
7th of November 2009: As told before the 4 Maasai girls who sing so beautifully were not finished with their first CD yet. Half of August they came back to our studio for more recordings. Next to recording music the time they spent here was used to make some video recordings - in our garden! - for the DVD. Some Maasai morani (warriors) were invited, who - fully traditionally dressed and shaking their spears, were beautifully captured by the cameras.
Next to that we also worked on the mobile studio, despite a small delay in some of the work; three little guests had found shelter next to the clutch pedal. Now we wouldn't want to disturb that, would we?
Right now we are painting the inside of the cabine. It's a bit of a slow job, since it takes three layers of paint before it covers completely, but the result is quite smart!
The engine is almost back to being complete with new tubes, and cleaned and painted parts. Not long before it will be running again.
30th of August 2009: On the 13th of June Martin and Maarten arrived in Nairobi. It was so nice to see them again!! Both of them got very enthusiastic when they saw the work we had done on the mobile studio so far. They could hardly wait to lend a hand! The next morning they started with filling and sanding the ambulance-body and the cabine. Small dents and sratches vanished completely! After that they put primer on the whole lot.
The well-known Kenyan artist MajiMaji has written a song for B'ware. He came to record when Martin and Maarten were here, and asked Maarten (who is an excellent drummer) if he could play the drums for this song. Yes of course!!! Also Joost was involved, he played the bass guitar. It's a solid song and it came out very nicely! It's called "Okebe" which means "brothers" and you can find it on our website!
The end of June the studio was booked by John Andrews from a record company in Nairobi. He came with the Ol' Moipei Sisters;
four Maasai girls, triplets of 15 years old and their 12-year-old sister. The Moipei Sisters have done some beautiful performances,
some occasions at the Dutch Ambassy and even for Kofi Anan! We had heard about them, but never actually heard them singing,
so we were very curious. What we heard was absolutely stunning. What a talented girls, what a beautiful voices. It was like listening to an opera!
Apart from two traditional Maasai songs, they sing all these classics like Holy Night, Veni Sanctus Spiritus and Ave Maria.
The girls were dressed in the traditional Maasai dresses. Which made the contrast with the classics even stronger!
It was their first time to record an album.
The album is not finished yet, and the Ol' Moipei Sisters will be back in August. If all goes well their album will be released, also internationally, before Christmas. We'll keep you informed!!
30th of June 2009: The last period has been a financially difficult one for B'ware. We have put a lot
of effort in promoting the studio to get more work. Last week we had an interview with Elizabeth Njoroge. She is editor
of the classic music magazine "Classics" and has a weekly radio show. She was very enthousiastic about the project, the
studio and the coming mobile studio. Besides promoting B'Ware to the readers of "Classics" and the musicians she knows,
she also wants to encourage colleagues at local tv-stations to give media attention to B'Ware. So possibly more interviews
Also we have submitted another number of project proposals. From the Kenyan NACC (National AIDS Control Council) we got a very positive response to the mobile studio plans, of which they say to see the necessity. Also they explicitly thanked us for all initiatives B'Ware has already taken in the fight against AIDS. The new period for submitting subsidy requests at NACC is about to come, so we will have to wait a while to submit ours.
Besides this, we have contacted the British army base here in Nanyuki. This was a fruitful action: they will sponsor us with tyres for the mobile studio!!
4th of April 2009: Transforming the Unimog proceeds steadily. We have raised the sides of the body and are now closing the roof. The floor is being replaced by waterproof plywood, from the old materials we'll make benches and tables. We're really getting there!
1st of March 2009: We're working hard to get the mobile studio going. Our aim is to reach more people effectively, also in the more difficult to reach, remote areas and to record and present audio and video on location. For this purpose we've bought a Mercedes Unimog Ambulance as being used by the Kenian army. Though transforming it into a mobile studio is a big job, the more we are working on it, the clearer it gets what the studio will look like when it is finished:
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