Journal

smiles & tears

Sudan, I've found, is a study in contrasts. Despite being in a near constant state of civil war since 1955 and being left with with zero infrastructure, her people have broad, genuine smiles instead of tears. Maybe they are enjoying life under the CPA or maybe a group of white people connected to The Church are a symbol of hope or, possibly, it's a bit of both. SudanContrast

several 20L jerrycans waiting to be filled | a Ugandan telecom ad on the floor of Entebbe airport

We arrived in Entebbe, Uganda on Wednesday night and left for Kajo Keji (I've yet to get a definitive one word or two answer) early Thursday morning. We chartered a plane and our Pilot was a German missionary named Achim - a hebrew name that means "the one God lifts up", perfect for a pilot - and he did a masterful job navigating Ugandan airspace. I had the opportunity to ride shotgun, which meant I had headphones. He did an incredible job of navigating the tour toward the border & talked at length about the political situation facing the region. We touched down on a wide, dirt airstrip at the Ugandan border and passed through immigration and then headed on to KK.

UgandanBorder

airtravel

We are staying at the home of E3 Sudan's Sudan-side country director - David Kaya. He has a three acre compound with several tukels as well as rooms where short term mission teams stay. The hospitality of the people here is amazing, the food is incredible & so far, every shower has been a warm one - all of which are incredible luxuries. After a day of napping, relaxing and adjusting to the pace of African life, we went out into the field. We walked from tukel to tukel visiting with families in the village of Joru for most of the afternoon. I was able to shoot a ton of video (the reason I'm here) as well as a handful of stills.

LandCruiser

Kaya's Toyota Land Cruiser - the only reliable mode of transportation

Tukels

traditional Sudanese homes, known as tukels

The day ended up being incredibly difficult, both physically & spiritually exhausting. I was doing photos of the woman who lives in the tukels above, I was fighting an incredible headache in the unrelenting Sudan sun feeling like I didn't have much more in me to give creatively, when across the field I hear the familiar sound of One Republic's Apologize. Not kidding. It was as surreal an experience as you can imagine; I just started laughing.

Wudu1

Wudu2

We made a run into Wudu (where the market is) last night to scout locations for a video I'm shooting this afternoon... and avocados. But these aren't your dinky Kroger avocados. The small ones are the size of grapefruit and some are as big as cantaloupe. And they're SO good.

I went to bed last night on the ragged edge. On the one hand, I was giddy with excitement about being here, encouraged by the day (and a skype conversation with my wife), but nearly in tears for no apparent reason... Sudan really is a study in contrast.