It all started with this blog. Last year a casting producer for House Hunters International contacted me through my About page. If you aren’t familiar with the House Hunters International you are apparently in the minority because I’ve been told it’s one of the most watched shows on cable television.
The producer asked if I would be interested in doing an episode about my move to Tanzania and our process for finding a house. (They were interested in featuring someone who worked with animals–I guess owning a safari company qualifies for that.) I initially dismissed the idea because, having not actually seen the show, I assumed that it only featured people living in huge, expensive expat-style houses. But a friend encouraged me to just check it out more. So I replied to the producer, we exchanged a few emails, talked a few times by phone and I filled out a lengthy questionnaire about my move and how we found a house to live in.
And then it was time to submit a casting video.
We decided to film it while Kakasii and I were on a safari touring several lodges and safari camps to use for our safari clients. Kakasii was such a good sport about the whole thing even though I know he absolutely had no clue what any of this was about. It’s hard to explain American reality TV to a Tanzanian.
After several more emails we got the nod from the powers that be at the production company: we were going to be featured on House Hunters International.
If you’ve seen the show you know there’s usually a back story that explains where the featured person came from. We were able to film that part of the show while I was back in Baltimore last August for a friend’s wedding. One of the scenes we shot was a “girlfriends’ lunch” with some of the women I used to work with at Lutheran World Relief.
For the Tanzania part of our episode, we filmed here for five very long days! But the crew was so great–David, the producer; Mike, the cameraman; and Joe, the sound guy. They were so patient and encouraging through the whole filming, even when the rest of us got really tired.
We filmed some safari scenes inside Arusha National Park, with the beautiful Mount Meru as our backdrop.
And we filmed at a Maasai village.
And we filmed scenes of what life is like in Arusha, including how we buy charcoal for cooking from a Maasai lady that delivers it to our house on the back of a donkey.
If you want to see the finished show, our episode of House Hunters International will air on Monday April 13 on HGTV at 10:30 pm Eastern and again at 1:30 am Eastern. The network does sometimes end up changing air dates so you can check here for times.
We won’t actually get to see the episode ourselves for three or four weeks after it airs when they send a DVD to us here in Tanzania. So please come back and comment on how it was so we know what to expect!