A year into making One Day I Too Go Fly, I’ve filmed enough interviews with students, parents, and mentors, and met with enough administrators and teachers that I expect nerves to be a thing of the past. I’m therefore surprised to find myself overcome with shyness when faced with the one thing I’ve come to Nigeria for – an interview with Mrs Adama, Philip’s mom.
It’s not that Mrs Adama is intimidating. She actually has a presence that makes one feel right at home within minutes of meeting her. But I find myself filled with admiration at how she has raised a family of 5 children in the decade since Philip’s dad passed away. The manner in which she interacts with her sons and daughters reminds me of how when my brother and I were little our parents always asked us what we thought about economic ventures they were considering undertaking. We were always involved in all family matters. I see how the strength of Philip’s family lies in their reliance on each other. I realize that I’m dreading the moment I turn my camera on her because I must do this woman’s character and her family’s story justice. It is perhaps my tallest order yet.
I confess my anxiety to Philip. “Don’t worry,” he says, “my mother is a very open person. You can ask her anything you want.” So I go for it.
Forty minutes later, I’ve filmed my most succinctly poignant interview yet. Also, something happened at the end of the interview that surprised Philip himself and caused him to laugh uncontrollably in the adjoining room.
-Arthur Musah / Kano, Nigeria / August 20, 2012