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It Ain't 'Alf Hot, Mum

Posted on 13 Dec 2006 by .

- and then we left the UK for Africa!

After a long and cramped flight to Nairobi, one of the first things to do was to buy a sweatshirt. MAF had commissioned a promotional video as their supporter base is aging fast (including me) and they need to attract younger people. Our director of programmes required a young, fit lad to do the sound recording and act as camera assistant. I went instead - and it was cold when we got there. Nairobi is only a few degrees south of the equator but it was their winter and I should have known better. We started off staying at the MAF guesthouse in a secure compound and I immediately noticed a familiar name on the guest list, Vern Bell, whom Crawford had filmed some years ago for two previous MAF videos. We felt at home at once as this world-wide society, which is MAF, reunited old friends.

I should mention that we were working with a talented young MAF researcher, Kate Allen, as our producer and she took the brunt of most of the Africa Factor problems that arose (If you've been - you know.) Most of her trouble, though, came from a couple of old men who have a pathetic sense of humour. (Sorry, Kate)

Much of our filming was to take place in the MAF base at Wilson Airport, Nairobi and when we arrived we were given a conducted tour by Ken Milligan, Chief Engineer. Later in the trip we accepted his hospitality and 'house-sat' for him while he was away. This is all getting a bit domestic; what about the video? Crawf had been given a pretty tightly-scripted brief for the filming, even to the extent of having a storyboard with sketches of the expected shots. This strict brief could have been our downfall had we not been working for a Master who knows the end from the beginning. From time to time as we came to discuss items for filming we were told, "But we never do that." However, liberties had to be taken in order to condense lengthy procedures short enough to fit into this eight minute cinematographic masterpiece and we came home with every shot we needed.

We filmed activity in the hangar, flying shots, and flew to a grass strip in South Sudan (still not really hot) to shoot medical teams at work. Suddenly we were in the Bronze Age in a little village of round huts trying to persuade the residents to "Just pretend we're not here." It was great to see Medair staff at work teaching national people the correct method of giving injections, knowing that this village would now be secure against Yellow Fever. And that was it; MAF's reason for being and why they need this video to encourage you and me to support them.

At last, I'd better introduce myself. I'm Ian Stacey, long-time colleague of Crawford (he joined me on a crew at BBC TV centre in 1970) and a supporter of CTA and now I've accepted the role of Trustee. I ask for your prayers that I'll be able to use my technical and Christian background to add 'a sharp end of video-making' view to the Trustees existing talents.