We are runners up with Africa Geographic in the SA Blog Awards!
According to the message we received last night from the organisers, it was mostly because of YOU – our readers. “Your winning was as a result of thousands of public votes and then a judges phase. In other words it was your readers who put you in a position to compete, we believe the reader is cornerstone of a good blog. We trust this prestigious award and the accolades associated with this award will reward your performance, and inspire you to continue the good work” So thank you.
Nikki Brighton manages the blog and still presses members of the team, and friends, into submitting stories.
As the whole world knows by now, Nikki lives with her dog Dizzy in a Magic Cottage! Try as we might, we couldn’t get the Blog to stop telling everyone that. Anyway, she spent the month of May (and much time since) happily blogging away.
It began when she invited Penny for a walk in the grassland and a swim in the dam almost a year ago. Over a pot of tea on the verandah (of course), conversation turned to sharing the River Walk Story with the rest of the planet. A Blog was definitely the answer and Nikki set it up without further ado. Before the walk began, life was calm, with occasional posts and pictures to upload at leisure as well as short articles to write for local newspapers.
Then May Day arrived and things got a bit busy. Unfortunately, the joy of living beside the mist-belt forest is tempered by feeble internet connectivity. Not an issue if one is taking life as it comes, but with mega Megabytes of photos and stories rolling in, things got a little fraught. Pandora was completely amazing sending through fabulous stories and pictures after walking all day – sometimes at 2 in the morning! Nikki felt she needed to get the action to the followers first thing, so rose at 5am to download e-mail attachments while the connectivity was reasonable and then upload the previous day’s news and pictures to the blogsite as fast as she could in order to get on with the rest of her tasks for the day. Fortunately, her friend Laila was expecting a baby, so the waiting time was spent crocheting bright squares for a blanket. After a few mornings when this process took 5 hours, she had had enough! A call to providers of fast internet connections and good humour – saved the day. “Those boys saved my life” she quipped. “I was ready to jump off a cliff, and hoped that if I threw a little money at the problem, it might go away.” It did!
The last two weeks of the walk were a breeze. The most difficult parts were trying to figure out what some of the photographs were – was that gloopy picture of supper, or some toxic spill? Which beetle name goes with which photo? Of course, the pictures were never the right quality for the press and trying to get decent sizes out of the team was sometimes challenging – with flashdrives that couldn’t connect, cameras left behind, kind back-up crew driving miles to locate them and urgent text messages to the riverbanks.
Since the walk, the blog has continued to share tales from the river, accounts of sewage spills, high water thrills, and some of the most gorgeous photos around. An entire community appears to have grown around the Mayday for Rivers campaign. Thank you all for your encouragement. Look out for more stories on the back room team coming soon.