From lovely lined recording studios with comfortable chairs, to small side rooms with plastic chairs, to open-aired huts with cement built-in seats, to dingy, charcoal-infested and cramped make-shift studios with ripped out car seats to sit on – we’ve been there over the past two weeks!
Whatever it takes to bring education to the children in lockdown – right?
We were in a nice rhythm with our two one-hour live daily education radio shows ticking along at two different stations. Teaching a lovely balance of phonics, mathematics and story time. We were even overcoming the transport restrictions to get to the studios: borrowing bicycles, getting permits to use our vehicle to pick up staff, but on Monday our permit was revoked because too many fake permits are circulating. So back to cycling and walking.
We ambitiously thought we could take more on, and widen our influence, so accepted an offer to make prerecordings for Amudat, another region in Uganda (on the Kenyan border). So… we have to pre-record all the material and send it off for a radio station there. That’s when the wheels started falling off our tight ship (and I’m fully aware that ships don’t have wheels!) and when there are more external influences out of our control.
Some of the lovely calamities we faced include:
- Endless retakes because of a noisy environment (in the centre of a small trading area)
- Waiting up until midnight to be sent the wrong file (which needed to be sent to be aired on the radio the next day)…. twice!
- Waiting for hours for the producer to email the file, but he was out of internet data
- Having fighter jets constantly flying over our outside studio
- A constant stream of cigarette smoke wafting in to the make-shift studio
- After a whole morning of recording, power goes out and we discover all the work was not saved.
But we are still standing, still laughing, still practising reading aloud and sending stories to each other in our staff WhatsApp group, and still managing to send the pre-recordings for Amudat off… just in time! As a team, we are learning a lot during our ‘lockdown’ and practising patience and endurance – harder for some of us than others (me!)