Views in Transition 2016 - Blog

7.02.2016 0:00


Here and There and Inbetween

8.02.2016 0:00

 Hello Austria, hello Uganda, hello elsewhere!


Erik and me, we finally arrived in Fort Portal and have started the ipsum-Workshop with the YAWE-Team. We will now take the chance and write a blog about our work with the YAWE-Team in Fort Portal and give some post-impressions of the workshop with the Perspektive-Team back in Austria (held from November 2015 until January 2016). Apart from that we will also give some insights of what is happening inbetween the workshop sessions, when we are not on duty as ipsum-workshop conductors.


We will call those parts of the blog in which we are telling about our ipsum-workshop with the YAWE and Perspektive-team “Here and There”. The stories from our experiences apart from the ipsum-workshop is called “Inbetween”.


For better orientation and for easy catching up, if you missed some parts and still want to stay updated, we will provide you with links to the different blog-entries at the beginning of the blog-page.

And – most importantly – we are looking forward to your comments, ideas and stories in exchange!

Hoping to stay in touch with you – here, there and inbetween!


More informationen on the projekt


Vera & Erik


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Here and There 1: First Steps

12.02.2016 0:00

So, let us get going…

On Monday, 8th of February, George introduced us and the project “Views in Transition” to the YAWE team and we could give a short introduction to what is planned for the next five months.



We managed to make a schedule for the YAWE-workshop. It was not easy to find time (just as in Tyrol), but we finally got a schedule that fits into the working plan of YAWE and suits the participants.


So, here is the plan in short:

The first three sessions will be on photo skills, the next three about storytelling and the last two about presentation skills. After the YAWE-workshop, we will get started with the Train-the-Trainer-programme and exchange methods and skills between YAWE and ipsum. The freshly trained trainers will then be responsible for further workshops with the YAWE-Youth and the YAWE-Caretaker-group. It seems that we will be busy until June. Hopefully we manage to catch up with this blog from time to time!


The first session of the YAWE-workshop started Thursday, 11th of February.




After the introduction, the first task was to take one single picture somewhere in the YAWE-Center to answer the following question: How are you connected to YAWE?
We will see the variety of answers (in form of pictures) tomorrow, in our next session….


Then, we were discussing a bit about lighting and portraying. The participants teamed up two by two and made some portray pictures.



And here some impressions from the first session with the Perspektive-Team, which was in November 2015:






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Here and There 2: Mapping 1

16.02.2016 0:00

We do have the honor to present the participants of the YAWE-Perspektive-ipsum-workshop 2015-2016:


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Our second workshop session with the YAWE-Team took place on the 16th of February. This time we had a very dense programme – we almost managed to get through…


First, we processed the pictures, the participants took on the question “How are you connected to YAWE” and build a YAWE-map out of it. Here is the result for now:




Back in Tyrol, we started the workshop similarly, but still a little different. Instead of taking a picture to answer the question, how are you connected to Perspektive and YAWE, everybody brought an item from home, that could stand for a personal answer to the question. The different items were put together, just as if they were parts of a map. The result was a Perspektive-map composed by those items:



Next step was to work on the portrait-pictures the participants have taken in the first session. 



In groups of four they were discussing on the pictures they were modelling for and the ones they have taken of somebody else.




Out of their portrait pictures the participants found different answers on the question: What aspects make a picture a good one? The different answers lead to an interesting discussion about what “good” means and on the aspect that what is good is mostly depending on the context. Still, we could arrange a list of aspects, which can give some orientation for taking pictures in everyday life: Variety of perspective, contrast, colour, back-/and foreground, posing, natural look, lighting, focus…




After having a short break, we had a small introduction to what photography basically is, that lead us to the next big challenge: The construction of an own pinhole camera.



We managed to darken and fix the boxes…still there are some steps to do.



We will continue working on it next session…. Until then, everybody keeps his/her own digital camera and starts taking pictures in everyday life.





The impulse for that is on the one hand the YAWE-map, on the other hand there is again a question that can help expressing oneself through photography: What is important to you in your everyday life?


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Inbetween 1: Coming Back to School Day

17.02.2016 0:00

YAWE is doing a lot of different things. If you want to find out about the variety of projects on the community and health care level, just have a look at:


Last week school started again. For those kids in the surrounding area, who would drop out of school because they have no money to buy school material (pencils, schoolbooks, rulers…), Perspektive für Kinder and YAWE buy and distribute what is needed. George asked us to accompany him to Kampala to organize the material.





Honestly – it is quite a challenge to do that through public transportation. But we managed to bring the material safely all the way from Kampala to the western edge of Uganda.



After the transportation job the YAWE-Team and the volunteers, Isolde, Nadine and Antra packed the material in order to get each kid what is needed.




Where to go with the waste after finishing the unpacking and repacking job? Unfortunately - as there is no public garbage collection service available, the common way of getting rid of it is burning it down.




In the meantime, the kids and some of the parents were already gathering and awaiting the distribution.




The YAWE -Team organized the function and George held a speech.



And later on the school material was handed over to the students one after the other.





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Inbetween 2: Election Day

18.02.2016 0:00

Your vote counts?



It is not just today that you can feel the density of the political climate in Uganda. From the first day on we could follow the campaigns – mostly the one of the current long-term-do-not-let-go-president Yoweri Musenveni. It is the sixth time that he is running for presidency. He can do so due to his own “editing” of the constitution. Here is an overview on the candidates:



We went with George to his village and had the chance to understand how the voting procedure is organized. What we learned from the newspaper, we could find later for real on a small field in front of a church.









It seems to us, that the people are split. The ones crave for transformation. “Musenveni could have been a second Mandela, a national hero”, we were told. “But for that, he should have had released power 20 years ago.” The others are just afraid of losing peace and fall back to the times when the dictatorships of Milton Obote and Idi Amin were oppressing the people. We guess, in this case fear might overrule the aspiration for change.


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Here and There 3: Box-Cam & Box-Pics

23.02.2016 0:00

Time passes so fast – I am quite behind with our blog. But I try catching up and give you some insights about our latest activities with the YAWE-Team.


Last week we had intensive sessions on photo skills, we were building our own pinhole cameras, we installed a laboratory in the bathroom of the YAWE-Center…


… first we took pictures in groups to learn how the process works…





…later on everybody took his/her own box-picture…






…and we managed to make a bunch of really impressing box-pics…











We should not forget to bring some of the results back to the people from different shoeshops in town! No wonder that people do not believe us when we are talking about the shoebox-camera – I am still wondering and feeling surprised about the fact that we take pictures with boxes (even though I have been taking pictures with boxes for about 15 years now)… it works and it is so simple, just great!


In Tyrol, we had our boxcam-session in December – let’s have a look back:









Lorena, Peter and Maresi






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Inbetween 3: Movie Shooting - Singalong

25.02.2016 0:00

When we arrived in Fort Portal, George asked us to support the YAWE-Drama-Group with shooting an awareness-raising-spot about an HIV-virus that is affecting people who are not taking their medication on HIV frequently. The resistant virus gets even more dangerous once it is transmitted to another person – the freshly infected person will carry the resistant virus and can hardly be treated. In 2015 five members of the YAWE-youth group have already died on the resistant HIV-virus. George’s aim is it now to warn young people through different campaigns - one way to do so is through a filmspot.


Unfortunately, Johanna, our professional for theatre and filmmaking in the ipsum-team is not with us this time – she would be the one for the job! (Johanna - Now we are missing you even more!) Anyhow – it is hard to say NO, when George comes up with an idea - we told him, Erik and me, we still gonna do our best…


So, what happened so far on it? Two weeks ago, we met Rock, a member of the Drama-group who is the director for the spot to shoot. After some discussion about the plot, the script, the title song and all the remaining todos, we have become aware of the fact that it is going to be a whole movie rather than a spot. Edison, the head of the Drama-group had prepared a script which contains 25 scenes. That was to be transfered into a storyboard. Margarita, became Rocks’s assistant and put some effort into working out the storyboard. Thank you Margarita! Rock, the other actors, Edison, George and us, we were able to schedule a shooting plan following the storyboard. As some of the main actors are currently studying in Kampala, we planned to have the shooting from 11th until the 17th of March. Until then all material has to be prepared, locations have to be selected and all actors have to be trained and have to come back to Fort Portal. The movie-team is growing since then – Marjorie joined as editor, Nadine became camera-assistant and Edita took over as producer.


We managed to have a first filming-session for recording the title song. We spent a very nice and joyfull afternoon together on sight – singing, dancing and filming! Get some impressions from the making-off-pictures Erik was taking on location:



The actors preparing for the trip to the first movie-set.




Our location-scouts did a great job – we were filming beside the road, just at the beginning of the Rewenzori mountains.




George was responsible for the audio device, me, I was checking on the lighting conditions.





1st setting: the whole group singing.





2nd setting: Deborah giving her solo-part.




Nadine, our camera-assistant and some audience on set.




3rd setting: Edison and Rock on their duet-part.





4th setting: Deborah, Barbi, Rock and Edison singing in quartet.







5th setting: Everybody singing and dancing.





Finish: Time to get home again! Looking forward to the next movie-session!


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Inbetween 4: Catholic community goes for condoms - Outreach to Nyabweya

28.02.2016 0:00

On Sunday 28th of February we went on an outreach to Nyabweya. The aim was an awareness raising and healthcare campaign for family planning and HIV-prevention in one of the remote communities.


We were a team of 13 people, some of us with George in the car, the others went with Japan in YAWE’s clinic-bus.



The trip to reach Nyabweya took us about 2 hours – Japan and George had to apply all their skills in car-driving through dusty, muddy, scattered tracks.




I enjoyed the ride through green fields, banana gardens, coffee plantations, small villages and crater lakes very much - it was just marvelous! Thank you both for getting us and the cars safely there and back again!



We just reached at place, when the Sunday’s service was about to be finished. I was quite surprised, when I found out that we were actually invited by a catholic community. Again I got a first-time-experience: I met catholic priests who were enfostering their community to use condoms for both – family planning and HIV-prevention. Thank you Pope Benedict, it was about time!


After the tent was installed the YAWE team started to work.




Each person had his/her own duties to make sure that all people (122 in total just on that day) could get informed, tested, examined, counseled and also entertained.


First sight was the church – the priest finished his services and George and Robinah took over.



George wanted to make sure that people can get all the information in their local language which is not Tooro (spoken in Fort Portal). That is why he invited Robinah to come along - she is a trained nurse and speaks the local language “Rukiga” as it is her mother tongue. The two of them held a introductory speech about healthcare in general, family planning, the risks and prevention of HIV/Aids and the benefits one can gain from using condoms. (Again, I have to state – it is just great to have such sessions within a catholic church – it is just a few years ago, when we were witnessing catholic priests and sisters in a missionary school telling adolescents that they might burn in hell by using condoms…)






First step to get tested on blood pressure, blood sugar and HIV was to be registered. Samuel, Nadine and Anthony made sure that people could get through the registration process without any confusion.




Isolde was the one testing blood pressure and preparing people for blood testing. Prilla took over as soon as the patients were ready for being scored on the finger to give some blood for the HIV-test-strip. Marjorie was taking care of the test-results and telling people about it in private.






In the meantime Michael, Antra, Robinah and George gave a lecture on family planning through the “CycleBeads” - a perl necklace that contains different colors to count for fertile and non-fertile days during a woman’s period.







Anthony took the challenge to give lectures on the use of condoms for both family planning and HIV-prevention. Not the easiest task to fulfill considering the different interest and age groups he had to handle. His lectures were informing and entertaining at the same time.










For examination on breast and cervix cancer patients could consult Michael, Prilla and Antra who were receiving and treating them in the clinic bus.




And what did Erik and me do – we were the guys behind the camera trying to catch the moments of YAWE’s outreach for documentation, reporting and maybe some fundraising?!



Hello out there – Crowdfunding is needed! 100 Euro/one outreach!!!

Unfortunately, last November the SIFA-project that was financing YAWE’s outreaches was stopped. Until then the YAWE-team went frequently to the remote villages of Kabarole district where people have no healthcare system at all. Now, YAWE lacks the money to cover fuel, some equipment and the staff’s salaries. YAWE could implement the outreach to Nyabweya just because there were so many volunteers participating on that day.


George told us that an outreach same as we did it in Nyabweya is about 370.000 Ugandan Schillings – which seems to be a lot if we focus on the zeros of that number. But counting in Euros it is not that much. One outreach costs about 100 Euro. If there is anybody reading this and wanting to help from long distance – let’s make a crowdfunding on it and try to raise money for the very meaningful and professional work the YAWE-team is ready to do in the remote areas as soon as there is money to go. We can provide you with documentation material if you are willing to get a crowdfunding project started. Just let us know!


Finally, I want to introduce to you some people I met with my camera in Nyabweya:



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Here and There 4: Picture Dialogue 1

1.03.2016 0:00

The workshop phase focusing on photo skills is already over, we are now in the middle of practicing storytelling skills using digital cameras. The knowledge gained on basic photo-technics, lighting conditions and exposure time through the box-cameras can now be applied in everyday-photography.


People are taking pictures answering the question: What is important to you in your everyday-life? What touches you?


We print selected pictures of the participants in a digital lab in town and get them back to the photographers.




In groups of 3-5 people the participants started to make their first experience in “Picture Dialogue”. Everybody had the chance to present the own pictures to colleagues and got feedback from them. People were reading their photos.




Thoughts, ideas, emotions and stories were discovered within the own photos and the ones of the others. Sometimes differences between the own story and the other’s story came up and were discussed. In other cases people could find common ground on ideas - even if they were not expecting it. It seems easy, but actually it is a quite difficult task to fulfill – listening, sharing, exchanging, exploring how the own and the other’s ideas match or differ from each other.




It is a great experience for us to work with the YAWE-team. They are getting us a first-time-experience after 12 years of ipsum in terms of participation and hierarchical structures: Yes, there is a hierarchy within the team – there is a director on top, there are employees, there are volunteers… People have different roles, different salary, responsibilities and involvement. Still – there is a joint spirit that allows the whole team to participate and to share with each other in the workshop sessions. We are just glad that we have the opportunity to be part of it for some time!


And: Here some insights to the first Picture Dialogue of the Perspektive-Team back in December 2015 in Tyrol:









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Here and There 5: Selfies

4.03.2016 0:00

How difficult is it to take a brush, some colors, a piece of paper and to paint yourself? As it turned out with both groups – in Tyrol and in Fort Portal – it can become a joyful and self-reflective activity. The Self-Portraits will guide us through our next steps in the workshop.









See all the Selfportraits of the Participants




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Inbetween 6:Movie Shooting “Where to go”

18.03.2016 0:00

We did not really plan for it, but somehow we found ourselves being part of a filming team. Apart from the fact that it will be quite a heep of work to do all the editing…the shooting week was just great fun and we would not want to miss it.



The first screening of the Movie “Where to go” will be on our ipsum-exhibition-day on the 25th of June 2016! For those who are not able to come we selected some pics in order you can get an idea of what we were doing…

Have look!




















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Inbetween 5 : Calvary

25.03.2016 0:00
















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Here and There 6: ipsum Exhibition

30.03.2016 23:00

In the last part of our workshop with the YAWE-Team we were focusing on presentation and exhibition skills. Best thing to do so is learning by doing. We decided to create an exhibition.

The participants had to fulfill three main tasks in the preparation of the exhibition:

  • Making a picture selection and  thinking of how to arrange them.
  • Finding different material that suits to connect content and presentation form.
  • Constructing an individual piece of art.





Finally everybody had an art piece to present and we were ready for the opening, which took place on the 31st of April 2016.

Part of the opening was, of course, speeches…




And then we had to do a last group activity to fulfill the workshop program: Creating a final YAWE map with those pictures of the participants that were chosen on the question: Which picture (out of all you have taken in the workshop) is representing best your connection to YAWE?

It is never easy to create one collective picture out of so many individual positions – but that’s is actually how we can learn together. The group discussion was interesting, funny, contesting, exhausting, joyful, serious and enlightening at the same time.





In Austria, we did not have an exhibition with the Perspective-team, but we had of course a final Mapping with them.





Let’s put the YAWE-Map beside the Perspective-Map … both are showing some kind of a tree!




No opening ceremony without the cutting of the ribbon….



Here we go, have a look, share, leave some comments and enjoy!







And finally – we had cake, music and dancing!







We proudly present the great variety of photographic art pieces that were shown in the exhibition:



We are happy to announce, that the ipsum-community won a great bunch of fresh members through the workshop with the YAWE-team! You can find the pictures of the new ipsum-photographers on our website:


new ipsum-photographers


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Here and There 7: Train the Trainer Program

7.05.2016 23:00

Our next step is to plan and implement a Train the Trainer Program for staff members of YAWE. The aim is to learn and teach each other about education and learning in general, gain skills on how to become a good workshop conductor and learn more about photography as a tool for dialogue.

On 20th of April 2016 we started the Program. Mary, Crimson, Nicholas, Marjorie, Moureen, Anthony, Erik and me were scheduling eight meetings for our Training.


We were exchanging our experience in education and learning. At some points we found a lot of differences in the education system of Uganda and Austria. Here are some examples of it: In Austria we did not have to pay fees for primary and secondary school… in Uganda some of our participants had to work hard as kids in order to earn money for the school fees – or they had to find a sponsor who could manage for them; in Austria, we had busses, trains or other public services that took us to school… in Uganda, kids in remote villages have still to walk far to reach their school – it is not easy to keep motivation to walk about 10 kilometers or more per day in any weather condition; and maybe the most disturbing difference for us – our Ugandan colleagues were telling about their experience of physical and mental violence at school – beating and humiliation was usual in daily life at school – at least it seems that nowadays the beating is not as usual as it was in early 2000… Erik and me found ourselves very lucky in not sharing these experiences with our colleagues here in Uganda



But there were also some similarities in our education experience: We shared that is was quite a burden to have bored teachers who were themselves not interested in learning, we found that curiosity is one of the most important things that we should preserve from childhood in order to be able to still explore the world surrounding us as adults. We shared that friendship is one of the most important things that you can find at school.



In teams of two we were reading some pages out of Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Opressed”. In his writing we could find a common ground in our ideas of education. It gave us a good basis for what kind of teachers/workshop conductors we would like to be ourselves.




A main part of our training was to share, explain, try and reflect on various methods that can be used in workshop sessions to encourage people in their own learning process. In doing so we were inspired by Augusto Boal and his Methods for the “Theatre of the Opressed”.





We were discussing about photography, taking pictures, sharing our pictures and stories with each other. Still, it is necessary to learn more about the observation of light and shadow, about focusing, about framing, the right moment, colors…



Finally, the participants teamed up two by two. Each team will be conducting their own workshop as newly trained ipsum-trainers:



The Team CriMa – Crimson and Mary and the team MoNi – Moureen and Nicholas will each conduct a workshop with YAWE-youth who are mostly challenged by HIV.



The team AnMa – Anthony and Marjorie will conduct a workshop with the YAWE-Caretakers, parents who have disabled kids and are challenged by HIV.




Planning, scheduling, preparing the sessions is now the task for the new ipsum-trainers. Erik and me will assist and help when it is needed. Looking forward to the first workshop sessions!


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Here and There 8: ipsum-Workshops for Youth and Caretakers

29.05.2016 23:00


The freshly trained ipsum-trainers did not wait for long… They planned and started their first workshops in the beginning of May.


Crimson and Mary were the once who started first, Moureen and Nicholas were following them. Each team invited eight people from the YAWE-Youthgroup, the “Unique Stars”, young people who are affected by HIV.

Marjorie and Anthony chose to work with the YAWE-caretakers, parents who have disabled children and being part of the YAWE-self-support-group.


The three teams applied in their workshops what we were talking, sharing and discussing before in our training-sessions. But – the new ipsum-trainers did not just copy and paste, what they got from us. The great thing on their workshop-program is, that it is a mixture of ipsum-methods and creative adjustments to what is needed in the certain workshop-group. Once in a while we were assisting the new ipsum-trainers… But to be honest – it was mostly not necessary!


Here are some impressions from the workshops with the “Unique Stars” and the Caretakers:



We are used to have “Five Crazy Minutes” to start off or to get fresh from talking or listening: Zip Zap Spoing is one of our favourite fun-methods that we are also playing a lot when we are in meetings with the ipsum-team back in Austria – a mixture of fun, concentration, physical exercise and just fun.



Guiding the blind is a method that we took over from Augusto Boal – it is a good way to learn how to trust others and to experience how it is if we are lacking one of our main senses – the seeing.





Painting self-portraits: As taking “Selfies” is nowadays one of the most popular photographic topics, at one point in our ipsum-programs the participants are invited to paint themselves. People are mostly concerned about their painting abilities, but after some time everybody is enjoying the intensive process of working and thinking on and about oneself. Afterwards the self-portraits are presented and discussed in the group – a quite sensitive and touching process!





Pinhole Pics: Constructing the own camera and in so doing learning what photography is about… It is about 200 years ago, that the camera was invented – still photography is based on the same principals. All you need is a box, to make it completely dark, make a small whole with a pin and load it with photographic paper in a darkroom with red light. Yes, it is necessary to be patient and to have some kind of an explorer spirit – but it is worth trying! What you get out of it? – unique photos that have a special value in times of digital reproduction.




Learning how to handle the camera: Each participant got a digital camera to take pictures in the own every-day-life. Most of them did not have the chance to take pictures with a camera before. It took some time to try and get familiar with the digicams.



While the mothers were occupied with their cameras, the babies were enjoying the camerabags that Jeniffer had produced for the ipsum-cams.



Picture Transfer: In order that pictures are printed it is necessary to transfer the selected pictures on a flash drive and bring it to the photo-lab in town. We were mostly underestimating the time that is needed for the copying process.




Picture Dialogue: One of our main ipsum-method is to present a selection of pictures from every-day-life to the workshop-group. The challenge hereby is to select what is most important to oneself and to listen what the other participants tell you about your own pictures. Everybody has the chance to show something to the others and everybody has the chance to express the own thoughts feelings and concerns. The process of picture dialogue is a great challenge for the trainers – they have to take care that all participants can present what they want and that the discussion on the pictures is held in a respectful and sensitive way.


For us, it is amazing to see how the new ipsum-trainers, Mary, Crimson, Moureen, Nicholas, Marjorie and Anthony are planning, organizing, implementing and reflecting their workshops! Congratulation, we are very proud to have such a great workshop-team in Uganda!


Now, what’s coming up… Anthony and Marjorie just started another Caretaker-Workshop, Erik will conduct a video-workshop and me, I will conduct a workshop for the tailoring class of Jeniffer. Still quite a lot to do. Not to forget, that we will have a final exhibition on the 25th of June. All workshop-participants can take part and we will also have the screening of the movie “Where to go” that we produced together with the YAWE-Youth.


Come and see for yourself!


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