Sunday, August 16, 2009

Twee Riviere Media School

The School under the Syringa Tree
Michelle has been on an exciting adventure and journey with 6 of the young people from the village.

It all started with a vision to make a series of DVD's on "Sustainable Living". We were inspired by the Grobler family who live on a small holding near us, who are an amazing testimony on how a family of 9 can live off the land and support themselves. With virtually no financial income, they live a happy and fulfilled life filled with praise and worship, songs and music, wonderful food and the most precious fellowship possible.

Phil Cunningham of Sunrise Productions, kindly lent us a old but trusty JVC DV camera and a tripod. Without lights, boom mike, video monitor or any other accessories - we were going to make a video series, script, shoot, and edit (on open source sofware on Linux computers!)

However as we discussed and planned the shoot, we realised that we needed a crew.
So Michelle decided to get 6 of the homeschool children (including 2 who had just finished school) and she would offer to teach them all about media. And so the school under the tree came into existence!

Twice a week the students meet at our house, and receive about 5 hours of instruction, interspersed with workshops, video viewings etc. They have had instruction on introduction to film making, workshoping a concept, technique, scriptwriting, storyboarding, production. And will still do camera, lighting, and post production (as we try to acquire the equipment we need to complete the course!

We found a wonderful resource in the village - the local NG pastor has a passion for film, and has a large library of classic and art movies, as well as an extensive collection of Rob Bell videos which have been very helpful in showing technique and creative approaches to filming.

The students are excited and keen - and are discovering talents they did not know they had! We have talented story board artists, musicians, writers etc.

Our first episode will be all about milk - and the entire process of keeping a cow, milking a cow, making butter and cheese etc will be filmed and will culminate in a festive meal in the garden with milk tarts, cheeses, homemade breads and butter etc. (In fact every episode will end in a feast! Just what hungry film crew need!)

The Begging Bowl!
If anyone has or knows of anyone who has old or redundant video equipment - we are desperately looking for a video monitor, some lights, a boom mike and redundant computers we can convert into Linux machines (if they do not have legal operating systems) - we need machines to edit on. (as for tape drives...that would be a bonus). We even need discarded DV tapes which we are prepared to re-use for training.
We would welcome extended loans, delayed purchases or donations - but we are desperate for gear!

Our long term goal is to formalise the course and hopefully in about 12-18 months we trust that we will have a formal organised media school offering video and computer training in a village atmosphere. Watch this space!!!!

To be humble is hard!


The months are flying by. We have settled into the valley and this is becoming home! New friends feel like old friends. One starts feeling known in shops and along the road. The terror of "How are we ever going to make it here!" is slowly being replaced with the warm comforting sense of belonging and the deep desire to succeed right here and nowhere else.

The single biggest growth in me has been learning to rely on God for EVERYTHING! We have no money, we fell behind with our rent, our electricity, our phone, everything. For 3 months we lived on faith and gifts and blessings. I needed to accept that God can and will provide in everything. The wonderful generosity of our friends still makes me feel very humble.
Then the wheel started turning... Web work started coming from unexpected sources... Small amounts of money would flow in and I started being able to catch up on bills and expenses. Having enough to buy filter coffee was cause for celebration!

I have never appreciated the taste of fresh beetroot, broccoli, spinach, coriander, butternut as we appreciate them now. Freshly picked in the Kouga, or from the lands around us - the gifts kept coming and I learnt that most important lesson - receiving is also OK - I have always been a giver - but to receive is very hard for me.

One of my highlights of our time in Twee Riviere was being asked by new and dear friends Dino and Rea to baptise their wonderful daughter Rain.
We were phoned and told that Rain wanted to be baptised and the baptism would take place in the river at the bottom of the Kouga. It is a beautiful place and fortunately it was a warm day! It is such a blessing to see the way that Christ can work in a young person's life and the wonderful annointing on her life. We pray for her life to be very blessed and joyful.

We have made such wonderful friends here and the wonderful blessings of our old friends who come to stay and share in this promised land has been such a pleasure and honour.
The children call our house the railway station - visitors keep arriving at the door - and we welcome every one - it is a time of ministering and sharing. We often sit outside in our front garden, under the Syringa tree and our garden slopes off into the main road to the farms to our right. So everyone tends to come past us on their way to town or whatever. And we sit and wave at the passing parade, and they wave to us... most people we do not know - but we still greet. Many people pass, and then turn in for a visit, coffee or tea and a chat. It is hard to get work done - but the fellowship is amazing!

We have started selling pancakes at the Talent Market - and that was a hoot! I suffered performance anxiety when all our potential customers surrounded me and my pan - and all my pancakes stuck to the pan! "Please show us how you flip them" I was being asked - but nothing flippen happened! My dear wife came to the rescue and calmed frayed nerves and a temper tamper about wrong mixtures, bad pan, too high heat from the gas flame - and my conviction that all the pancake batter was plotting against me! We finally sold about 30-40 pancakes - with Nuttela fillings and at the next Talent market - we had mastered all the problems ... I got Jethro to make the pancakes - and I sold them!