ending FGM in Mauritania

Recently, I wrote about my trip to Mauritania, which was part of a four-country shoot for videos about local change-makers who are helping to turn the tide against female genital mutilation, or FGM.

I shot the footage for the series in all four countries – Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and The Gambia – but the only video I edited was the one about Mauritania… so that’s the one I’m going to show you. 🙂

Here it is, in English:

(And here’s the French version.)

FGM is a subject I’ve cared about for many years, and I’m so happy I finally had a chance to work on a video about it. I’m even happier that the video’s message is a positive one rather than a downer.

To each his own ignorance

Night has fallen on the banks of the Gambia River. After a 6am start, a 4-hour road trip, and a 10-hour shoot, I am finally getting ready for bed on the second floor of a compact motel-like guesthouse along the riverside. It’s surrounded by the darkness of a huge dirt lot, which is in turn enclosed by a concrete wall. A few minutes’ walk beyond that is the small town where we have been filming all day.

I hear a knock at the door and a male voice asks, “Hello, how are you?” Thinking it might be the manager, I answer, “I’m fine. Can I help you?” The response is, to an almost comical degree, exactly what a woman alone in the middle of nowhere never wants to hear: “I’m a stranger. I want to talk to you. Are you busy?” He then jiggles the door handle. Thankfully, I’ve remembered to lock it. Continue reading