Five years ago, I sold my car and moved from Atlanta, GA to California for a job in Biotech. Before that, and for a long while, I had been working as a Stuntwoman, a baby sitter, a phone book delivery girl, an actress and a temp hire at a Medical School. Anything to pay the bills, really. My fortunes changed when I put my Science education to good use and got a great job at the school's Genetics department. That opportunity later led to the job offer in California.
The chance to provide for myself was second only to my desire to keep practicing and developing skill in artistic expression. I wanted to keep telling stories with my camera. I looked around and was discouraged at first, because I had no contacts in my new city and I didn't have any money. That was a big deal, because making short films is expensive AF. Thing is, where there is a Will, there is a Way. After thinking it over, I decided to put off getting a car so I could buy a good camera. I used the resources available to me to make SOMETHING. That's it! Travel. I had to travel a lot for work anyway, so that would be the foundation of my first project. All those flight and hotel points would allow me to visit places I had only dreamed of up until this point. At first, I went to places in Europe and North America, then following a paradigm shift about where my money, resources and time would have the most long term impact, I turned my focus to Africa.
You see, when I first moved to Atlanta, Ga in 1998, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about living in America. This naive conclusion was based on my confidence in consuming almost the entire Cannon of American shows. I learned very quickly how unrealistic and misinformed I was. When people asked if I lived in trees in Africa, I wondered aloud where they got their information. From TV. The only depiction a lot of people had on Africans was what they saw on TV. All this reinforced my desire to spend my time and any extra money I saved traveling to African countries and filling my space online with videos of the beauty I knew, the stories I wanted to learn, and the histories I wanted to discover.
The web series, 'JANU with Eposi' is based on An African's exploration of Africa. Through those rose colored glasses. Unsure if I would get a chance to visit all 54 countries on the continent, I decided to go for at least one country in each region. North to Morocco, South to Namibia (2 videos), Central to Cameroon, and this is 1 of 2 East African videos set in Tanzania. My ambition will be complete after I spend some time getting to know a West African country.
I saw beauty like I have never experienced on these travels. I saw resilience, strength, pride, self discipline and gentle kindness. I connected with some people in a way too profound to put into words. It reinforced love of self. Not only from the privilege to travel (which I fully acknowledge), but also from seeing with my own eyes the fulfilled and potential greatness of people who look like me. The natural, untouched, unfiltered, raw beauty of a place so connected with the people who live there. So devastatingly gorgeous that it can sometimes be overwhelming. To the entire continent of Africa, I give my heart and my love.