July, 2006 Archives

29
Jul

Hurry Up and Get There

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, ARIZONA, USA — Ten days and counting. We will be leaving on the 8th in the evening. That gives us all day to run around and wait. ARGH!

Last minute details.
Getting my girls all ready for school.
Do they have new shoes, notebooks, pens and lip gloss? Check.
Money for lunches? Check.
Yadayadayada.
The talk about no boys in the house while I am gone? CHECK!!!

Pams-ben.jpg Now my boys are different.
My new daughter-in-law will have to deal with Isaac, son Number One. Son Number Two is a different story. Anyone know of a good orthopedic surgeon? Yes, Ben needs to come home from Chile to repair his torn meniscus. I will not be here to mother him. My husband assures me they will all survive without me. How is that possible?

Do I have all my supplies?
Cameras?
Pepto Bismol?
Sanity?
Memory, now where did I put that?

This is so FUN! I am going to Africa. I am on a film crew. I am so happy to be me! Thank you Cyndi for having confidence in me. Thank you for having the vision to see how wonderful this screenplay is. Thank you for all the work you have done to put this together. No one really knows all you have done except you, but I have a pretty good idea. We are all indebted to you. We all owe you and the only way to show our respect and admiration is to show up, work hard and have fun. I think we can do that!

Ten days and counting! HURRY UP AND GET HERE!

26
Jul

ALWAYS

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, USA – During one of our training sessions we were told the pros and cons of this project. It is easier and more fun to focus on the pros. The cons were like, “you could die over there! You really could!” Cyndi wanted to make it perfectly clear. “If you have a problem with that then you had better pull yourself out of this right now!”

There are wild animals and a culture we are not familiar with, but die? Bungy-jumping-.gif
We are not bungy jumping off of Victoria Falls. This was clarified by our fearful leader Cyndi. We are going to be insulated. Jabbes has arranged “supervisors” for each of us. We have had our shots. We have done as much as we can to prepare for this project. We are dying to go!

But that statement does leave one with moments of reflection. Late at night with the steady sound of breathing from each of those I have nurtured for the last 24 years I ponder what their lives would be like with out me in it.

Through the years everyone develops relationships. In the everyday events of life you see and relate to those you see and relate with every day. I have never consciously chosen to stop associating with anyone. Usually circumstances dictate who I see or don’t see. I remember hearing that after high school you won’t see those you have spent four years of your life with. I didn’t believe it then, but it was true. The same occurred with my College friends. And as I have left communities I have been disappointed and sad at the lack of communication with those I have history with. So now I am embarking on a new adventure. I would be remiss not to think of the implications. As I meet new people and develop new relationships I acknowledge it diminishes the time I have for others, including myself.

There will come a time in all of our lives when we can not be a part of the lives of those we love, but I believe that we can always be in each others hearts. Sounds corny, right? Well, it is. That doesn’t make it untrue. I also have found strength and courage knowing of the love and confidence others have for me. Recently, I also have experienced self-doubt and weakness when I have felt all alone, abandoned or worse denied.

pjsliding.jpg“You could die over there! You really could!” I know that is true, but I also know I could die right here. And I will some day. In the mean time I am enjoying the feeling of birth, my own, separate and yet intertwined with family, friends, nature, environment and once in a life time opportunities.

My little world without me in it. Yes, I want to be missed by those I cherish. I want them to know it isn’t what I may accomplish that is worth remembering. It is how I made them feel.

Be forewarned, when I am gone I will haunt your heart just as many linger in mine…Always.

19
Jul

A DAILY CONVERSATION

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN MESA AZ USA

“You are going where?”

“Africa.” I say it casually as if going to Africa is a normal occurrence for any 48 year-old wife and mother of four.

“Are you nervous?”

“Nervous? Why would I be nervous?”

I am going to Africa to shoot a documentary and help with the first feature film ever made in Zambia. Should I be nervous?

“There are wild animails!”white bird africa_m.jpg

“In the zoo!”

Actually, we will be in a large city for two weeks. Apparently there are wild animals and birds and creatures roaming the streets, but I am sure they will not mind us. Now when we travel to the bush, I love saying that. It sounds so exotic. We might encounter some wild life, but I am confident I can out run Cyndi.

“What about diseases?”

“We have all taken shots.” Ouch on those. And we will be taking malaria pills. And did you know my husband, who is not going to Africa can not give blood for like 7 years after I get back? I do feel bad about that. He has good blood.

“What about your family? Who will take care of your children?”

I look at them like they are boring me with details.

“My son’s, 23 and 20 are green…with envy. They are just mad they aren’t going. My 17-year-old daughter is thrilled. She gets the car while I am gone. My 11 year old will be running the house. She has been bossing us around, well , for 11 years! I hope to shout that she has raised us to be self sufficient and productive members of her family.”

“What about your husband? Won’t he miss you?”

“Yes, he will. He likes me a lot. He thinks I am entertaining. He also likes that I am adventurous and am always thinking.”

OK now I am exaggerating. There are not many men pj-and-Chris.jpgwho like women to always be thinking. Thinking is usually followed by spending money, remodeling, talking and for some going to Africa.

“How long will you be gone?”

“Almost a month.”

“A whole month? That is a long time!”

A month is 30 days. We will be gone only 27.
It really isn’t that long. My biggest fear? The food. I must admit I tend to be a foodie. I like what I like and fish is not on my list. They belong in the water where they can outswim the larger fish.

“Well, call when you get back. I want to hear all about it.”

“Yea, sure, I’ll have you over to watch my slides.”

Now who’s nervous! I see the fear in their eyes.

“Oh, will you be doing slides?” They ask with trepidation.

“You betcha!”

It’s called a movie!

15
Jul

Represent

by Pj in Random

PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, ARIZONA, USA – In many ways , I imagine, this project is like any film project. You have a script, you have actors, you have sets and costumes and you have a crew. In more ways this project is not like any other film project.

The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. — Aristotle

In our situation we recognize that we represent much more than ourselves in this project. We realized from the beginning that what was being produced would reflect on MCC, Mesa, Arizona and the USA. Grand Canyon 29.jpgAt the same time MCC has respected the rights of the Zambian writer to tell his story in the way that best represents his culture. It is a deep, mutual respect. It is honorable.

This project is unique because as far as we know it has never occurred before. We do not know of any other junior college or even a four-year university that has provided funding for their students to go to a foreign country to help the citizens shoot their nation’s first film. As a result our crew recognizes our responsibility to do our professional best. We will represent what is noble and courageous about America.

This project has been funded in part by MCC. This project exemplifies an excellent use of funds earmarked for innovative student and faculty learning. Arizona is known for its artists and for supporting art. Arizona understands the educational benefits of art. Kent Seidel, PhD said, “There is ample evidence that the arts help students develop the attitudes, characteristics, and intellectual skills required to participate effectively in today’s society and economy. The arts teach self-discipline, reinforce self-esteem, and foster the thinking skills and creativity so valued in the workplace. They teach the importance of teamwork and cooperation. They demonstrate the direct connection between study, hard work, and high levels of achievement.” When you consider the artistic contribution Arizona is known for, it is not surprising that Arizona would be the initial state that supports such a project. We will represent what is creative and cooperative about America.

Grand Canyon 98.jpgAs citizens of the United States, we understand that some regions in the world view all Americans as greedy, self absorbed, lazy, power hungry individuals. We know this is not true and we have the opportunity to show the world another side of America. This project exemplifies the true spirit of American citizens. Our goals are selfless and altruistic. We will represent what is kind and generous about America.

We have a huge responsibility to ourselves. We are to learn all we can from this educational opportunity. We are to expand professionally through this momentous project. We are to grow personally from contributing and participating with the Zambians. We will represent the achievement that is possible when one commits oneself to service, leadership and global understanding.

9
Jul

From Mother to Daughter

by Pj in Random

PAMELA BOWMAN MESA ARIZONA USA – One sunny noonday while traveling with my daughters to a lunch date, I ran into some road construction. Sitting at a light, I honked my horn gently at the car in front of me to let them know that we had the green arrow to turn. The passenger took offense at my nudge and let me know with just one finger what he thought of me and my considerate reminder. Now tell me what is a mother to do?

As human beings, do we not have the right to communicate our intentions? Could I allow my daughters to think that I would tolerate such disrespect? Well duh, NO! I followed the car through the light and approached them on the right. I rolled my window down and asked, “WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?” The passenger flips out his handy dandy switch blade!

I follow blade man just long enough to have my daughter write down the license plate and the make and model of the car. My husband calls to tell me to get off the stupid freeway. Now, let’s get one thing perfectly straight. Freeways are not stupid! I comply and exit the freeway. I report the information to the police. They promise to call if they locate the one finger switch blade man. They never called back. My daughters learned an important lesson that day. Their mother is insane.

My daughters are now 17 and 11. They are beautiful, intelligent and funny. They do not honk at cars, but they do fight injustice in their own way. I am honored to be their mother. I hope they have learned how valuable they are. I hope they know sometimes you have to sacrifice something good for something better and sometimes you just have to sacrifice. I often tell them that life isn’t fair, so, oh well. I also hope they see that I think life is an adventure. I want them to know that I know I don’t know everything, but I am having an awfully good time learning as much as I can.

pam-and-Wis.jpg

I am going to Africa to shoot a documentary on the first feature film in Zambia. Now just how many daughters are telling that over the water fountain? I can see the first essay at school next year. “We spent the summer learning about Africa because my Mom decided that is where she wanted to go and so that is where she is.”

My children will have a wonderful life. I‘d like to believe I had something to do with that. They are adventurous and curious and productive and kind. They have known disappointment. They have known heartache. They have known love. They do have one flaw. They never honk.

7
Jul

Advancing Confidently

by Pj in Random

PAMELA BOWMAN MESA ARIZONA USA — Last night we had another training session in preparation for the feature film shoot. Cyndi was multi-tasking again. She had us set up for an interview. We talked with former student Jordan Pack. Jordan was an animation student who was back for the summer. For the documentary, she wanted to get his take on our opportunity of filming in Zambia as MCC students. He said how he wished he had had such an opportunity and how it could have benefited his career aspirations.

AZRepublic.jpgWe also had a visit from the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Their reporter Josh Kelley (and photographer Dave) observed as we got the interview recorded. Josh also commented on what a great opportunity for MCC students to go to Africa and shoot a film. Later, we watched footage from a previous practice shoot. We critiqued our work. We discussed what worked and what didn’t. We examined the lighting, camera angles, sound and editing. It was very beneficial.

Then came the talk.

We have the funding for two (2) faculty and eight (8) students. The problem is there are 15 students and six faculty. That means Cyndi wants to get funding for 5 more students. That’s $15,000.00. If she can’t locate funding, that’s five students who have dedicated their thoughts and actions to this project for the last four months that will not get to go. The question I have (and I am sure the other students have) is, am I one of the 5 who will be left behind? Cyndi calls it Sophie’s Choice (from the William Stryon novel and film that starred Meryl Streep). The dreams and goals of which child lives … and which child dies?

Cyndi explained that the determining factors will be an assessment of our effort, commitment and knowledge. Do we show initiative? Do we have to be told what to do or do we just do it? How do we relate to other crew members? Do we work well as a team player? Are we paying attention to what has to be done and thinking of ways to accomplish it? How skilled and proficient are we with all of the cameras, lights and tools? If we don’t know how to do something do we figure it out, ask questions, read up on it or let it become someone else’s problem? Are we open to the cross training Cyndi is providing for us?

Most everyone works well as a team. Certainly many hands make light work. The hardest part for those left behind will be knowing the contribution that could be made if he/she were able to go. Each of us wants to go desperately. We might even think we deserve to go for the effort we’ve put in, but that doesn’t mean we can go. Even though we have unlimited energy, determination and passion, there is a limit to how many plane tickets we can afford.

As I wait to see if the funds come in, I will ponder on what Henry David Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” I await the meeting in the common hours.

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