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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First Day of Filming in Kenya

Willy, our sound technician, met us at our apartment at 8:30am. I had wanted to wait until after 9 to leave so I could meet the woman I had been dealing with on the phone but she was not due in and we had to get to Catherine’s. When we got there she had already picked up Anthony and Jane from the airport and they were on their way to the dentist; Jane had a problem with her tooth starting back in December when they were in Costa Rico. We had some time to kill as they were already at the dentist so we went to the Giraffe Center which is in Karen, named for Karen Blixen (Out of Africa story fame). It was SO cool to have the giraffe come right up and literally eat out of your hand.

Jon filming the Giraffes

There are containers with food and you just scoop some up to feed them. There is the ground level where some of the smaller ones come up to you and bend their long neck down, then there is an upper level where you go up steps so you can get to the taller ones. They are very gentle for the most part but there was one, Helen, who likes to give head butts so the employees made sure to alert people of her habit!

Around lunch time we headed back to Catherine’s home and waited for her there. When she arrived, Anthony and Jane were in tow and little Ruth, who was so little a year ago and who is Catherine’s niece, came running out to greet her. She had been playing with Kevin, Catherine’s nephew and she is just adorable!

Ruth (left) and Kevin (right)

She is also incredibly self-sufficient which I found very different from the two year olds I know in the U.S. She just runs around where she wants and does not have to be watched every second like we seem to watch our kids back home. The house is gated at the end of the property but it is still quite far from the main house. I was amazed how good she was and SO friendly!

We spent the day just filming Catherine at home with her family and especially focusing on Jane since she was due to go back to school. I am completely surprised by how much Jane hates the camera! I would have thought she would be used to it but it seems almost like she resents it because she is so used to it. She also doesn’t like running or anything to do with it and it is my opinion that maybe this is because it has taken her mother away from her for periods of time as she grew up. It was very difficult at first to get close to her because I was the “lady who brought the camera” but once I sent the big camera away and just brought out my small “stealth” camera she was much more open and her personality really came through! You’ll have to see the film to see what she is like but I will give you a hint, she is very much like any pre-teen girl into music and pop culture and becoming a woman!

Jane & Ruth

She is just adorable! It was evident that she became more comfortable with me and the crew and we were able to film her in the kitchen with Catherine as well as Lydia, Samuel’s wife who stopped over but didn’t know I was there so I wasn’t able to see little Stephen!

We had a late lunch and Catherine and Filhelmina (her house help) prepared Catherine’s favorite dish for us, Mukimo. It was delicious and I had been waiting to try it! After lunch Anthony gave us a tour of the grounds including the gardens where Catherine loves to grow all kinds of vegetables. She obviously doesn’t have the time to tend to them all on her own but I learned that she has an intense love of agriculture which she has had since she was in school. She grows everything there from spinach, beans, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers to pumpkins and sugar cane!

While we were outside some visitors arrived; monkeys! They are SO cute! First we saw one, then two then there were at least five of them! They were hanging around the front of the house and climbing on the house. While we were inside at the dining room table, the front door was open and one came inside! Anthony said they have never had one actually come in the house but there he was; unfortunately I couldn't get my camera quick enough to capture the one that came in!

After a cup of Kenyan tea we were all exhausted and left for the day. I look forward to filming more with Catherine over the next few weeks and am sorry that we won’t see more of Jane. She will have her tooth fixed tomorrow and head back to boarding school on Thursday.

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