On July 2nd, I braved the idea of visiting Arua, the capital city of west Nile region. My expectations were extreme especially as regards to what to find, what to experience and what Arua has to offer. I was set to visit the Bornfree Television Network, (BTN), a local television station where three of my former students are gainfully employed. Lumbuye Jotham, Nakibuye Edith and Banura Susan had decided to break all odds and try out a life in a new media environment in as far as west Nile. Other than hoping around Kampala in search of placements in the broadcasting industry, they decided to believe in them selves and embrace what ever the world has to offer.
Arua is a town blossoming with activity. Schools, Institutions, Banks, Telecom companies, 3 star hotels, a golf course, and a promising media environment are all existent. Over 5 radio stations beam their content on a daily basis and one local television station, Bornfree Television Network (BTN), ensures that the people of the region are treated to a local recipe or at least. On arrival, I see the inhabitants of Arua moving on with their daily lives. Poverty looms everywhere. The town has no town-service taxis; Boda boda motorists and cyclists ply the streets and provide a service at a fee.
My experience at the BTN station was unbelievable. Four young journalists run the television station. Jotham, popularly known as Kalypso, is the station manager and producer, Edith is the reporter and newsreader, Susan hosts the mid morning show and later put her marketing skills to good use. Mariam does the morning program and doubles as assistant TV producer. Kalypso presents an hourly comedy show every evening from 7pm. The show is so energetic and demanding that you pity the young man who is at the station by 6 am. The way these young and energetic fellas go about their daily errands with such enthusiasm and clout is so encouraging that I was too proud of having mentored them.
Taking a stroll around town with Kalypso shows how popular the young man is. The number of funs who keep noticing him is, according to Kalypso, what motivates him to produce the show on a daily basis. His costumes, interactions with the callers and spontaneous humor places the show among the most popular programs watched in Arua.
I am proud of these young lads. They are really determined to make it big in the industry and no doubt the sky is the limit for them. A visit to Radio Pacis, a catholic oriented media organization in the area , keeps me wondering how such a big media organization could be existing this far. Very organized, latest technology, gigantic solar panels, I cannot stop wondering but pray that the upcoming journalistic talent in the region utilizes the facility to full capacity.