I’ve learned over the years that it’s impossible to know exactly where a project may come from. Our partnership with E4 Project began all the way back in 2016. A former development director and I both played in an alumni soccer game at Nyack College. When I randomly heard mention of Burkina Faso in post-game convo, an instant connection was made. Who knew that a partnership was in the works?
Fast forward to early 2016, Dan joined the org and noticed my name in their system, listed as a photographer. We jumped on a phone call to discuss where things were heading in projects based in D.R. Congo, and the rest started falling into place.
We came up with a plan of attack targeting some new programming they were working on along with trying to create better content to feature projects that were already in place. Knowing that everything could (and probably would) change at least five times upon our arrival, we kept our list & schedule very fluid. We created a hierarchy project importance and then brainstormed the types of content we were hoping to create for each project.
Our original plan was to head over in January 2017, at the same time a team of doctors would be there doing surgeries & training hospital staff. However, a government shut down delayed getting our visas in time. This meant Dane (my second shooter) and I got to hang out in New York City & have some fun waiting to see if the government would re-open before sadly calling it quits & heading home.
It took a few more weeks before we finally got our passports back with approved visas, and then the challenging scheduling game of "when can we get everyone over there within the next 90 days”, thanks to 90 day visa timelines. This turned into a whirlwind of re-scheduling flights and lives. The journey finally began domestically on February 23 as Dane and I met back up in New York City before flying to Uganda. Knowing we would be running around on rough terrain, while not knowing the status of having a running vehicle, I had to be picky with my bag selection on this project. Thanks to being absurdly tall, I was able to carry-on a 65 liter F Stop gear bag (not suggested but it worked), and a small backpack with laptop & ronin-m body. Dane carried a rolling bag & smaller backpack onto the plane.
The date change also tightened up our schedule in Nebobongo from 14 days down to just 9 days. Losing 5 days on location meant we wanted to set ourselves up for success by flying to Entebbe 2 days early so we could start getting over jet lag before we had to hit the ground running. We got to explore Entebbe and enjoy meals on the shores of Lake Victoria listening to Africa by Toto.
With how remote Nebobongo is, we couldn’t take a typical airline, which is how Mission Aviation Fellowship came in to save the day. They’re an amazing organization which flies into remote parts of the world transporting people and goods.
In the next part of our case study we will dig into the first few days in Nebobongo, and all of the ways we had to adapt for our environment. Be sure to stay tuned for it!