Postcard from Ricardo Alvarez – The Netherlands

Visiting and Volunteering in South Africa – March 2015

Ricardo_Alvarez_filming_dancing_on_beachI am a film maker, camera man writer and editor. This been my livelihood for over 3 decades. I recently had the amazing experience to volunteer my time with Dreamcatcher to be part of a very special project called KickUp Kamammas. An exercise dvd with a difference. Conceptualised and realized by the founder of Dreamcatcher, after working for years in communities in South Africa . She realised the great need for teenage girls and women living in challenging socioeconomic circumstances, to relieve stress and develop a lifestyle in which they not only exercise in fun routines complimented by inspirational music, but develop appreciation and awareness of their incredible environment around them, of which many are most times not even thinking about.

Ricardo_Alvarez_with_dancersThe key messages we filmed is that this routine can be done anywhere they are: from class room, to doing the laundry; outdoors or even in their kitchens and to identify with their daily chores through exercise. So in a nutshell: develop a healthy lifestyle by using core exercises, nature and lifestyle in the dvd. I worked in a team, directed by Anthea from Dreamcatcher, with Drs Henna Renfurm a social anthropologist and Debbie Siebers a fitness and lifestyle expert from the USA. In each town or at each filming location welcoming, joyfully involved and committed local people helped us to ensure we got the shots we needed and above all, their welcome was amazing.

The experience to film this across the breathtaking country, its awesome light, get close to nature and most importantly, as we filmed the girls and women, see them open up to the joy of it, has left me, as a professional film maker, with memories not only captured through my lens but indelibly imbedded on my mind. As I travelled around, I met the most amazing people in communities across South Africa. The project allowed me to engage the local communities. This is surely an experience I will cherish for ever. I am grateful for the chance to be part of this project which I could see as we filmed, a great need for but most importantly, saw the impact on the girls and women.

Ricardo Alvarez