Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blog Moved

Hey everybody!

Finally, finally! My web site is up and live. Check it out here: www.jakenaughton.com.

Also, I've migrated my blog to my domain, and that is now also live. From now on, I'll be posting over there, so please update your bookmarks or however you read this:

That's all!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hey I'm Here!

Before going into details of the last couple days, a snippet I wrote on the plane from LHR to NBO:
"I'm in a strange mood. Its inconceivable that my flight is connected in any way to the actual purpose of my trip. Travel always puts me in a bizarre limbo, bu this one is compounded by a dull queasiness in my stomach, like stage fright or that weird stomach flip right before you kiss someone for the first time.

I don't know what I'm afraid of, but something has my stomach turning and my mouth dry. I'm beyond excited to get back to Nairobi, but am clueless as to how to operate in this new, non-studying abroad context.

Also, traveling alone is no fun. Its full of more introspection than anyone needs, especially me. Definitely exacerbated by a seven hour layover in London, which as previously described, is a loathsome place.

What I'm listening to: Solo Dolo by Kid Cudi
What I'm looking at: the adorable couple sleeping next to me, his chin on her forehead. Not creepy."

I arrived in NBO 6:30am only to find, or rather not find, my bag. After searching for an hour and filing a claim report I left the airport. By then the cab I had arranged the day before had gone so I got a little ripped off on the ride to my amazing hostel: The Wildebeest Camp. For around $15/night, I get free breakfast, wi-fi, hot showers and beautiful grounds with gardens and a tv lounge. Plus great security, a major plus with $5k+ in gear with me. I then proceeded to pass out for 7 hours, read for Kafka on the Shore for 3 hours and then pass out for 7 more. Blame it on the jet lag and upset stomach. Photos of the hostel (taken from my camera phone....dont give me shit please):

Tuesday was a great day. Feeling rested I woke up early, still sans bag, grabbed breakfast and then headed to KGSA to meet Ryan and see whats up. First, I stopped by my host family and got to see Sini, Mom and Tracy. It's tough to say how great it felt to see them again, how unreal it seemed and still seems and how much it felt like no time had passed at all. I didn't realize quite how much I had missed them until just that moment. I then went next door to Jose and Adriane's house and got to see that whole family, which was equally amazing. Nathan, the baby in a picture I posted last time around, is now walking and yelling and understands Swahili well enough to do what you tell him. It was great to reconnect with Jose, with whom I'd sit with for an hour or more every night talking. Adriane was supa excited to see me, and we spent the better part of an hour pretending to eat each other's ears (long story).

Then I went to the school and finally saw Ryan (the director of KGSA on the US side, very good friend and one with whom I shared many meetings with this past summer in Madison) in Kenya for the first time. I also got to meet Jamie, a board member of KGSA and one with whom I've shared many emails with but never met in person. We spent the afternoon painting the new rooms-the school has doubled in size since I left to accommodate a new library and science lab. Teka, the headmaster and good friend of mine, then took us out to Miami, a lunch spot I used to go to most days with KGSA teachers. The owner recognized me and we shared some stories.

After that, Ryan myself and a whole lot of Badgers got together for drinks and Ethiopian. There were grad students doing research, a former MSIDer working at a school in Kangem (another slum of Nairobi), a friend of Ryan'sand waitress at Buraka, a favorite Ethiopian place in Madison visiting Ryan, and a few others. It was a great time.

An extremely loud and rude Belgian family sharing my dorm room at the hostel woke me up this morning with 30+ minutes of extended, intense whisper-speaking. I have since spent the last 6 hours and over 1000 KES (12ish USD-not a lot but roughly one day's budget) trying to track down my luggage. After an extremely frustrating series of phone calls my bag will be delivered today, but no one has any idea exactly what time.

Yay and bummer. I smell awful-tons of bug spray after 30ish mosquito bites the first night, combined with lots of sweating after walking all over in this 80 degree wonderful weather and wearing the same clothes for 3 days. Later today I'll try and give an update that has more than "today I....." but didn't want to make this any longer.

What I'm listening to: I'm Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass by Yo La Tengo
What I'm looking at: The mildly surreal and always melancholic portraits of Nadav Kander
Copyright Nadav Kander
Copyright Nadav Kander

Final thought so far: Kenya is amazing. Being back is incredible. I love it here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Heathrow is like Dubai...

...Shiny, super luxurious and bizarrely dated. Plus empty where I am.

After lots and lots of waiting in the airport, another round of delays in Chicago and then an hour of waiting on the run way, I have reached Heathrow. Here is my breakfast from the always disappointing AMT Coffee (although they are one hundo per cent FT (coffee) and Organic (milk) according to their homepage):
EDIT: Apparently, a barista from the very AMT coffee lounge I currently inhabit(T4 Heathrow) won the 2006 Food and Beverage Best Barista of the Year award. I remain skeptical.

On the plane here, I sat next to an ancient Israeli man with the longest, straightest chest hair I have ever seen. He looked exactly like the man from Up, minus the terrifying stretched, square jaw line-if only I had a picture to show you. Also, here is the terrifying de-icing alien robot:
The picture doesn't quite capture its full, probing horror. Its gaze is death.

What I'm listening to: RE: DEFinition by Blackstar

What I'm looking at: The haunting and strangely beautiful work of Richard Barnes. Check out the statement for Past Perfect/Future Tense.

Copyright Richard Barnes 2009.
Catch you later.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

And it begins

So I'm in ORD right now. Just stood in line for 1.5 hours to get my flight switched because I was going to miss my connection in Brussels. Now I get to wait 4 more hours in Chicago and then an awesome 7 hour layover in Heathrow (as opposed to 2 in Brussels). Woot. On the plus side..just had a great grilled veggie sammy and a whiskey sour. Might be a little tipsy.
Aaaaaaaaaand now I have a whole bunch of time to find a house for Tim, edit photos for the Web site (up soon really I promise) and other miscellany. Also, bought Kafka on the Shore today, so I might start that.

More as I feel like it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Picha tu tena

B/w or color? can't decide

I'm shooting production stills for the Hot Sun movie, more to come

last but not least, a preview from a new sub-series I'm working on

My week is full of lots of little things, plus I'm sick, so I don't feel like writing too much. I'll give a full update soon. A couple of quick things: CFK fell through, because they are incredibly annoying to work with, so I'm meeting with another organization using Ushahidi called the Peace Caravan, more to come.

Kibera is very dusty, and the rainy season has officially arrived. Its rained 8 out of the last 11 days, so now Kibera is very muddy. Need some wellies.

I got robbed last weekend-I was walking home at night, and very close to my house had a missed call, so I called them back. Someone snuck up behind me and grabbed my phone and ran off. No physical harm or intimidation, so all is aok here.

Tutaonane baadaye.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Internship Week 1

So I have officially completed my first week at my internship, and it has gone amazingly well. This whole week I was working at Kiber Girl's Soccer Academy (KGSA). I start at CFK soon, but we're still figuring out my schedule there. Kibera is a crazy town, and its really more than I'm ready to explain right now. These pictures are all from in Kibera, so they will have to suffice for now.
I'm working with the journalism club, Filamu Juani. KGSA is partnering with the Lower East Side Girls Club (and here) to put together a global platform that girls around the world can use to share their experiences. To that end, a couple of wonderful people named Carol Anne and Danielle have come in from the states to facilitate KGSA's inclusion in the initiative.
The LESGC has already partnered with a girls' group in Chiapas, Mexico and another one in Katmandu, with plans to continue expanding the network. Once Carol Anne and Danielle leave, I'll be helping facilitate the program here in Kibera.

This past week was spent training the girls in basics of camera use , both still and video, and in editing a bit. Here's what we've got from this past week. The theme was water, in honor of World Water Day. As time progresses, we'll be training the girls on creating their own stories and uploading them to the web on a platform similar to the one above, but a little more sexy and all that jazz.

Also exciting-a friend of mine works at Hot Sun Foundation, which is currently in the process of making a feature length film by, for, in and with Kibera residents. Thats exciting on its own, but couple that with the fact that they're using the RED camera. Its the only one in E. Africa, and one of 2 in all of Africa, and its literally history in the making. I've been hanging out at the Hot Sun offices and making lots of friends. I'll keep you update on that as well.

More later this week. All the pictures are from KGSA, except for the obvious one.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The (hopefully) new journalism

This post is in response to an extended sort-of-conversation I've been having with some peeps about where journalism is headed. Its also in response, sort of, to an article listed below.

If you'll indulge me (always dangerous), here's what I think. I find the current trend of newspapers closing foreign bureaus really unfortunate for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that there is something to be said for posting a journalist somewhere and letting him/her learn the ins and outs of an area. I've met a couple freelancers here, and all of them fly in, shoot or write the story and fly out. I understand financially why newspapers have to do this, but I feel like the quality of journalism suffers.

Having been here for 2 months now, I'm still learning new idiosyncrasies about the country that would have been way over my head if I were here for a week, there for a week and so on. Plus, with a new trend in foreign correspondents' writings of being read and seen by those being reported on, instead of just for, there is a burgeoning population of people who can and will call the journalist out on missing those undercurrents.

I think the current model of newspaper journalism is broken-I think newspapers are woefully behind creating adequate web content, and are making decisions that might now ensure financial solvency but are rapidly making them obsolete as purveyors of information.

Related tangent-Part of what I'm doing while I'm here is working with a collaboration between 2 NGOs that are trying to capitalize on the enormous penetration of cell phones here, and to utilize that for enhanced community outreach and input from the people they serve. I'm doing a lot of research about the myriad of applications being developed for grassroots organization and mobilisation, using the cell phone as the base. Somewhere there is the key-all these applications are horizontally and vertically scalable, and I feel like there is massive potential for this same idea being applied to the current journalism industry.

Ultimately, journalists are in the business of information. Demand is increasing, but our lack of understanding of how to obtain revenue from this huge new market of consumers is not. The more research I do, and the more I see how plugged in people here are, in ways that the West has no idea, the more I think the answer is here.

Sorry for the rant. I am really excited about all of the things going on around me here, and I'd love to hear your take on them. All I have now are these ideas, but I can feel them coalescing on the horizon.

Also, to prep you for some talks about my research, check out FrontlineSMS and if you haven't yet, Ushahidi and more specifically here, which is where what I'm working on will be posted.

More on the promised topics later.