My name is James Mixon, and I’m a 21-year-old student at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. I was born and raised in the country of Kenya on the eastern coast of Africa. My parents are long-time missionaries; my family (I am one of five kids) first lived in a deeply rural area where my parents worked with the Maasai tribe. In more recent years my family has been based in the capital city of Nairobi.
I originally came to Nashville to study guitar, but since arriving have also pursued video production, philosophy, and outdoor leadership. I spent a semester abroad with the National Outdoor Leadership School in Chile learning how to survive in the wild of Patagonia, and have since been working for a local rock climbing gym as an instructor and a guide.
With the help of the Lumos Travel Award, I will returning to Kenya to film a documentary about the men and women who work on the tallest mountains in East Africa. These remarkable people work as guides, porters and rangers in the unique African alpine, furthering the exploration and conservation of this pristine environment. I will lead filming expeditions up mountains including Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, Mt. Meru, and into smaller areas such as the Aberdares mountains and Hell’s Gate National Park. I will working with a locally owned and operated guiding company, KG Mountain Expeditions. While building relationships with these men during our expeditions, I will also tell their stories through film. The final product of the documentary will be used to raise awareness of the experience of these mountain workers and encourage further tourism to East Africa.
While I’m enjoying my time in Tennessee, I’m excited to return to my homeland as an adult with something to offer the people with whom I grew up. I look forward to sharing this experience with you all through the Lumos blog!