A direct flight from Geneva lands me in Cairo, the elder sister of the city I grew up in, Beirut. After sailing through customs despite all the camera gear I was carrying, rehearsed answers to their potential questioning still buzzing in my mind, I stepped out of the airport. Greeted by a waft of warm dry air and the customary hail of ‘Taxi?!’, I made my way to a friendly looking face and asked if he would take me to Zamalek, an island at the heart of the city.
The presence of What Took You So Long leaves a mark, like a clearing in the trees where the grass is still warm and flattened, their presence lingers in the air around me.
It was my first time in Somaliland, my first time meeting the Bulsho crew. They are a local production company in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, that we have worked with since the beginning of WYTSL. Countless stories, long projects, a few nervous moments; the Bulsho crew and WTYSL have had a long history together. The project I was there for was with a different organization in Hargeisa, but from the start the Bulsho crew’s involvement was assumed. You wouldn’t arrive to a city and not contact your best friend, even if you weren’t specifically there to see them. Except I had never met this best friend of ours!
I was filming a short documentary in Gabon for UNDP, CAFI (Central African Forest Initiative). With borrowed boots, socks and pants - everything but the shirt I was wearing - and a 15 kg backpack full of camera gear, I entered the rainforest for the second time. I was there to capture beautiful images of it’s flora, fauna, water sources, the water, the village, the people and the park rangers.
This is the story of the creation of What Took You So Long? How it all began and why we are such ardent lovers of the camel. The following blog-post has been put together using the transcripts of a WhatsApp voice-note Sebastian recorded at the airport in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, and a recorded interview with Alicia at the wrap-up party of a 10-day shoot in Jordan.