Tanzania Project Wrap-Up « Cross-Cultural Storytellers

Me, filming Maasai dancers for their music video

…our recent trip to Tanzania was everything we had hoped it would be. We planned, filmed, shot, and edited two complete music videos, with two different groups in two very different settings. And we were able to mentor and train folks there in production techniques that will help them create better media resources in the future.

Here’s a link to my more complete report (on our org site): Tanzania Project Wrap-Up « Cross-Cultural Storytellers.

Musical/Visual Stories of Hope

This is our challenge – to be the culture-shapers AND to help those who are already culture-shapers to discover a new story for themselves, through Christ.

“Picture this. You’re standing in one of the most remote corners of Tanzania, East Africa, in a place called O’lerumo. Around you are a few bomas (collections of huts) – you’re in a Maasai village comprising maybe 200 people, living more or less in a dozen family groupings. There are no cars here. There are no wells here. There is no electricity here. You’re standing in a circle of a dozen people under a thorn tree, praying, and you’re feeling like for the first time you really understand just how nearby God is. Then a cellphone rings and a dozen Maasai reach into their shukas and pull out their phones – some of them have three – and someone apologizes and takes the call. It’s in that moment you’re reminded that the difference between here and there is not as big as it used to be.”

For us, this story from Jeremy, a friend in East Africa, vividly tells the story of the changes our world is experiencing and the opportunities that we have to bring Jesus to people and places that once seemed so far off. These are opportunities our 10X Productions’ ministry team is pursuing.

Assist the Culture-Shapers

In every culture, even among the Maasai, the stories communicated through technology and media like films, music, and games are what set the tone and agenda for the future. We have an opportunity every day to tell our own stories that reflect Kingdom values and have the potential to lead us to a different future. However, our voices tend to be drowned out, unless we are the ones who are leading the way in popular culture. This is our challenge – to be the culture-shapers AND to help those who are already culture-shapers to discover a new story for themselves, through Christ.

This summer, my team and I have a chance to help shape culture in East Africa. We are partnering with a singing group, The Sowers Group, and a ministry in Tanzania, Pamoja Ministries, to create music videos that will share stories of hope in Christ in a region that is torn by poverty, war, and oppression. The Sowers Group is a group of Christians from Rwanda, Congo, and Tanzania who have been through civil war, genocide, and the more ordinary trials of life. Through their music they speak of hope and freedom in Christ. The Sowers Group is becoming more well-known in East Africa and so have many opportunities to perform in secular and Christian concerts.

[listen to the song HERE]

Why Music Videos?

Africa is in the middle of a media explosion. Nearly everyone has a cellphone and a DVD player. It’s common to exchange music with friends on cellphones and the preferred way to listen to music at home is via DVDs of music videos. We want to help The Sowers Group create a high quality music video album on DVD. We expect the DVDs to be taken all over East Africa where the message of Christ in the music and visuals will have a great influence.

The Sowers Group are pop culture storytellers, helping to shape their culture through music. 10X Productions, through our collaboration with Pamoja Ministries, can help increase their influence by training and mentoring emerging local filmmakers. Our experience in filmmaking, combined with their cultural expertise, is a potent combination. The skills we teach will be used to create even more videos in the future.