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Middleton woman takes NSCC skills to Africa

Middleton’s Shannon Ubels is on her way to Lubango, Angola to create videos for several faith-based organizations and an instructional video about nutrition for local mothers in the African city. She hopes to create a documentary about her experiences.
Middleton’s Shannon Ubels is on her way to Lubango, Angola to create videos for several faith-based organizations and an instructional video about nutrition for local mothers in the African city. She hopes to create a documentary about her experiences.

MIDDLETON - A Middleton woman is going to Africa where she hopes she’ll be able to combine her filmmaking skills and her desire to help improve people’s lives to produce several instructional and informational videos.

Shannon Ubels travels to Lubango, Angola this week where she will meet up with a family friend who is a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship, a Christian organization based in Idaho that provides services to hundreds of humanitarian agencies and thousands of missionaries in remote areas of the world.

The 20-year-old Ubels has already graduated from the Applied Media and Communication Arts program at NSCC and has finished her first year in the Screen Arts program at the Waterfront Campus. She’ll use skills from both NSCC programs in Angola where she’ll make videos to promote several organizations working there, and hopes to make a video on malnutrition that can be used as an instructional tool for mothers in Lubango.

She hopes later on to be able to expand the malnutrition video into a documentary, and also make a documentary about her trip too.

Shannon Ubels travels to Lubango, Angola this week where she will meet up with a family friend who is a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship, a Christian organization based in Idaho that provides services to hundreds of humanitarian agencies and thousands of missionaries in remote areas of the world.

The 20-year-old Ubels has already graduated from the Applied Media and Communication Arts program at NSCC and has finished her first year in the Screen Arts program at the Waterfront Campus. She’ll use skills from both NSCC programs in Angola where she’ll make videos to promote several organizations working there, and hopes to make a video on malnutrition that can be used as an instructional tool for mothers in Lubango.

She hopes later on to be able to expand the malnutrition video into a documentary, and also make a documentary about her trip too.

Invitation

Ubels was invited to Angola last May by Marijn Goud. “He wanted me to come out and help then, but I was busy, so I couldn’t,” said Ubels who thought he meant it as a joke anyway. “But he was serious and he asked me again later on this past year. I said ‘yes, I’d love to.’”

Ubels started making preparations a few months ago. “I didn’t realize how much work actually goes into getting a visa,” she laughed. But now that everything is finalized, she has tickets booked for June 20 and after almost a day and a half of flying – via Montreal, Brussels, and Luanda, Angola, -- will arrive in Lubango where she’ll live for the next six weeks.

Ubels knew Marijn Goud from Alberta where her father Sweis Ubels – from the Netherlands – was a pastor. The Ubels moved to Middleton and Goud moved to Angola to do missionary work.

“I really enjoy helping other people,” said Ubels, who is also a member of the local fire department and describes herself as a hands-on learner.

That applies to video as well.

“I do video and it makes sense to me,” she said, adding that she wants to help people understand through video what’s happening in a far away place, and she wants to use video to help mothers in Lubango to understand the effects of a poor diet and the benefits of good nutrition.

“We know how to be healthy,” she said of westerners, but noted people in some countries like Angola may not.

About Marijn Goud

Likes People

“I like getting to know people,” she said. “I really like to know what I can do to help them. To be their friend.”

But she does admit there may face some barriers – being a young woman being one. And the fact most people speak Portuguese in Angola. But she’ll have support from Goud and family where she will be staying, and the organizations she will be filming are faith based.

“That’s really cool,” she said, “because I’m a Christian and if I get to work with other Christians – that’s amazing. You don’t see a lot of that here. And I really enjoy seeing other cultures and understanding them and see what they’re actually about.”

Her biggest fears? Getting lost in airports and accidentally offending people whose customs she’s not familiar with.

She admits the culture change may be a shock, but she’s exploring the Angolan culture and history through reading. “I’m going to feel like an outsider for sure,” she said. “I hope and plan to have an open mind – and open my heart to a lot of people.”

When Ubels gets back, she hopes she’ll be able to put the documentaries from her experience in a few film festivals, including the Atlantic Film Festival.

“I would just love for people to see what is actually out there, and to see what I have experienced – and say this is real. It’s not Hollywood, and it’s not fake,” she said. “This is real life. I’m not asking for your money. I’m not asking for you to deliver this or that. This is how people live.”

Ubels is no stranger to film festivals. In 2013 her video Rethink Your Trash, was chosen as a finalist in the 12th annual ViewFinders: Atlantic Film Festival for Youth.

“I’m really excited,” she said.

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