It has taken me almost 10 days, and now that I have begun understanding Rwandan’s facial and corporal expressions, it’s the end of the reporting trip!
My name is Clàudia, and I was part of a group that was supposed to go to the DRC. When the reporting trip got postponed because of the Ebola outbreak, I decided to head to Kigali (Rwanda) right away. We had just 4 days to change gears and to prepare potential stories in Rwanda.
And there I was, on Monday May 28, sitting in the back of a 4×4 in a city with clean streets and green hills, with Jean Paul (fixer) and Kiki (driver). This had nothing to do with Kinshasa.
~ Kigali ~ I said to myself.
A whole new world of possibilities. How was their urban farming? And their LGBT situation? What’s the average salary of a worker? And rent? What challenges or lessons Rwanda should share to the world?
The stories I’ve been doing during this reporting trip have been possible because of our great group of fixers and, most importantly, because Rwandans have been willing to open their hearts and their homes without hesitation.
I feel really honored to have been able to listen to and yo understand the lives and stories of my main characters. I have mostly spent my reporting trip following one of the first female moto drivers in Kigali, and also a group of LGBT youth. People that are breaking ground every day with their existence and their work.
And regardless, even though Rwandan’s have been so kind and so accessible, their facial and corporal expressions have mislead me every day. All the time, I thought I was bothering them too much: “Can you please ask her if it’s ok if we film again in front of her house…?” I would tell Jean Paul to translate to my characters who mostly spoke Kinyarwanda.The fixer would start translating.
I’d look at them, trying to read what was happening. I’d try to see if I could understand some word or a hint in their body language… and all my mind could read was: “She is not smiling… she moved her face the other way, her hand seems to be saying ‘enough.’”
I would start thinking that the filming session would have come to an end. That it had been good while it lasted…. And that hopefully I would have enough with what I had or maybe we could meet another day… Maybe a day with better light, or we could meet at another location…. Or maybe it was actually not totally necessary…
“Yes, let’s film,”Jean Paul would say.
I couldn’t believe it.
“Really? She said it’s ok to continue?”
Yes, she said: “No problem!”
And the show would keep on going.