5.24.2007

winding down


justin playing
Originally uploaded by justinlandis.
it's thursday and we leave on monday. i'd like to say that it's too soon, but i can't wait to get home to my family. we're in the crunch time of the trip now, getting all the final shots we haven't been able to yet, and all the interviews that we need. joosung will stay for another week or so, so if i need more, he can work on it next week. i'm thinking we're gonna be good though.

the last 2 days we traveled out into the bush to go to villages there. yesterday was a 4+ hour drive, 3 hours on a dirt road that wouldn't pass for a hiking trail in the states. as intense as the travel is though, the impact of the trek is well worthwhile. these villagers are all but forgotten. moses, the leader of the gospel messengers here, is very serious about helping the poor and the neglected and these villagers are the epitome of that. they rarely get any visitors, let alone foreigners. the whole way to the village, everyone we pass waves excitedly at the new white faces.

we spent our time there playing with kids, singing songs for them and doing some business with the sponsorship program. it was hot and i'm sunburned pretty bad now, but it was a great day. i saw several people who i knew from last year, including a kid named michael who has aspirations to be a singer.

the ride home was long, but we made it. today, kevin, joosung and i stayed here in kampala in order to get some much-needed time with ben and straxy to film. however, the power was out and our batteries were drained (literally, not figuratively) so we're killing time and waiting for the power to come on at home. as we were leaving the apartment, i made a joke about driving, which was taken seriously, so i ended up driving us here. i haven't felt that much adrenaline pounding in quite a while, but about halfway here i realized that the chaos is actually a well-orchestrated dance of distraction. a bike whizzes here and a truck stops there, but somehow it all jst works together. the ride home will hopefully end as successfully as the ride here. if not, that'll be a key point of the next blog entry.

5.21.2007

sunrise over kampala


sunrise1
Originally uploaded by justinlandis.
i finally woke up early enough to call jen and ani at bedtime. with the 10-hour time difference, it's been a challenge, but today was the day. that time also happened to be sunrise so i took the opportunity to get some photos. i've never been particularly good at sunrise or sunset photos, but photoshop can do wonders with the .raw format photo, thus transforming a hazy sunrise into a heavenly spectacle.

5.18.2007

benny hinn will have to take care of himself

i decided not to go to the benny hinn concert, i mean crusade, tonight.  after more thought i realized that i just don't really want to support that guy at all.  i don't know and i don't need to.  i hope that many people encounter God in a powerful way through what he does, but i won't be one of those people tonight.  what he does and what he preaches flys in the face of too many of the convictions i have about how we as Christians are supposed to live.
 
so, i'll be working on the choir video tonight.  maybe we'll watch some "24."  straxy has the first season on dvd and promised to bring it by.  tomorrow we'll film hanningtin and ben's stories, hopefully and life will go on.  i hope that God works through benny hinn and i hope that he has the integrity that he would have us all believe.  but as for me and my house,we will serve the lord...not benny hinn.

matsiko standing up for himself


matsiko standing
Originally uploaded by justinlandis.
so, i ran out of time yesterday to finish the previous post. here goes...

the hiv - part was definitely the best news of the test. he is currently malnourished. i'm sure that life in the village where they live is far from cosmopolitan when it comes to concern for a balanced diet. probably plenty of rice and bean and that's about it. so the doc put him on some vitamin supplements, some malaria medicine and some other minerals. he's supposed to go back for a check-up in 2 weeks tosee if he's improving.

the story of this boy is such a miracle though because of where he's come from. in a very real way, it's a great picture of the idea of process. if a child born healthy to a loving mother and father was in the same condition that matsiko's in, it would be a tragedy. but for him, it's cause for celebration because he's come so far. in the same way, we all begin the day with different advantages and headstarts and shortcomings, etc. to expect us all to be side by side at the end of the day seems a little strange. rather, we should encourage eachother to progress from the current position.

matsiko still has a ways to go before he'll be a thriving healthy child, but he'll get there. he's got a people who love him and care for him well. he's got a sharp mind and loads of potential. i can't wait to see how this guy ends up.

5.17.2007

matsiko in the van


matsiko in the van
Originally uploaded by justinlandis.
this little guy was dragged into the makeshift clinic where jen was working last year by the arm. his father held him carelessly and if not for his eyes that still ahda bit of life left in them, we could've taken the boy for dea. his skin hung off of his body like a loose pair of pants on an old man. he didn't move a muscle or respond to being held by some strange white woman. jen helped to bathe him and clothe him before the discussion of what to do with him commenced.

a woman from the village there, Harriet, volunteered to take him even though she had 8 other kids of her own. he has come sofar from where he was and yet still has a ways to go. he has now been tested and found to hiv negative. this is awesome because both his parents are hiv+. (more to come)

how much is too much? (and i'm gonna see benny hinn)

i was walking through one of the alleys that iwalk through every time we leave our condo and i was processing my relationship to it.  not that it came as a surprise, but i realized that my presence, to many of the people i see, is akin to the presence of a movie star or musician that imuch admire.  however, when i'm at home and comfortable, i may come across an article or story reminding me of the average salary of a professional athlete or actor, and i may think, "that is ridiculous.  no one should make that much money, unless they're giving a large portion of it away."  the weird thing is that in terms of ratios, pro-athlete:me = me:some-people-i've-met-here.  doea that mean that i'm ridiculously rich?  can i brush it off with a simple cost-of-living analysis?  doi change my attitude about the professional athlete and recignize that they're doing thei best for where they are... just like i am?
 
i don't know.  i vascillate between the options like a pedestrian weaving through rows of stopped vans and zipping motorcycles.  it is interesting to think about though.
 
part 2.  the christian culture in uganda is sort of like what it would probably be in the states if all the evangelists in the 80's hadn't turned out to be human after pretending to be better than.  they adore the likes of joyce meyers,benny hinn and creflo dollar.  they couldn't believe that i hadn't heard of creflo dollar (he's a tv pastor for those of you who don't know).  i had a conversation about benny hinn with straxy and he was saying that hinn's human so we can't expect him to have it all together.  straxy feels that he is "annointed" and that God uses him powerfully. imust admit that i don't want to change his mind.  i did.  but now irealize that it really sin't the cut and dried isue i thought it was.  if God encourages straxy and thousands of others through benny hinn, who am i to argue or try to discount him? 
 
anyway, kevin and i are gonna goto the big benny hinn crusade (i called it a concert and was promptly corrected).  we'll leave the house tomorrow at 2 for a 5 o clockstart time so that we can walk to the stadium which promises to be overrun by believers, miracle-seekers and skeptics alike.  actually, kevin and i may be the only representatives of the latter category, but we'llbe there nonetheless.  we'll be soaking up the experience and maybe learning something new about the reverend benny hinn (one of the many reasons why i cringe if the title "reverend" is ever attached to my name)  i've actually already started praying that God would open my heart and mind to what may happen at this conce...crusade.  i'll blog again with my reflections.

5.15.2007

spokane hoopfest goes international

who woulda thunk it? this tshirt travelled across the world in less than 2 years. pretty impressive. plus, it was super clean. it must have been brand new.

5.14.2007

sincere apologies for the mass email

due to the slow speed of internet access, i chose the convenient-yet-slightly-rude-and-impersonal choice of sending a message to my whole contact list.  please forgive me.  i just wanted to let everyone know that i am blogging during my time in uganda and you can read more at justinlandis.blogspot.com.  i'm also doing my best to post photos to flickr.  you can view those at flickr.com/photos/futuremann/

again, apologies for the mass email.

peace,
justin

Bernard


Bernard
Originally uploaded by justinlandis.
this guy is a friend we met last time we were here. his name is bernard and he's one of the humblest people i've ever met. he serves the group unflinchingly and invisibly. if something happens, it's probably because bernard did it.

bernard was an orphan. he's in his early 20's and now lives with dithan and janet, a couple of the pastors for gospel messengers church. he has very little education and doesn't really speak english.

we took him shopping for the day and bought some clothes for him. he was so stoked. he wore the shoes on Sunday and they still look new. thanks to the generosity of our friends and family in the states, we were also able to send him to driving school. when dithan told him last night, i was hoping that he could have done it a little more discreetly. it feels strange to have someone be so thankful. bernard was glowing like a black light and so excited. for us it's a bit of money an a warm fuzzy feeling for helping someone. for bernard, it's opportunity to be something - to be someone. as a driver he will have respect from his peers that he's never felt. as a driver he will have some way to make a living and contribute to his family.

i think it's so true that the most significant thing we can offer here isn't money or even hope. for the christians, they already have hope in christ and are content with their lives. what we can bring is opportunity. the opportunity to help oneself and in turn help others. the whole system is a conduit through which good things are passed. i don't receive something for my own sake, but for the sake of my brothers and sisters who are in need. it's an amazing culture that way. i feel blessed to be a part of it for a while.

great times in uganda

today will be our first official day of shooting.  we did some recording of the choir last night and it went pretty well.  they came to our condo to perform for us.  i cut a short clip of it that i will try to post sometime soon, but i'm not sure whether that'll work or not.

yesterday was a great day.  we went to the church gathering in the morning.  we got there a bit late - about 10:30 - and we left at 2.  the gathering was still going after we left but it was just announcements and whatnot so we were excused.  i got to play with the band which was fun.  the service is always interesting.  the main speaker preached for an hour and a half.  the other 3 speakers were between 30 and 45 minutes each.  the whole thing is in both english and luganda, but it's still difficult to understand the english.

yesterday evening the choir came to our place.  after they left we hung out with our ugandan friends for a while.  it was a nice night.

5.12.2007

b.y.o.s.h.

one of my most recent lessons in international travel - bring your own shower head.  i can't really complain at all as i had a HOT shower last night.  and for those of you who don't know, a simple shower is a rarity, let alone a warm one.  it was a thing of beauty.  it may have taken me a full minute to get my hair wet, but it was wonderful nonetheless.
 
today my other bag arrived to entebbe, so we went to pick it up.  the ride was comfortable as the cool breeze hit my face.  we passed sunflower seeds around the van and all had a chew along the way.  the arrival at the airport was only the beginning of the chase, but i finally caught the wild goose in the same office where i filed the papers for missing baggage.  another guy on the flight had lost his bags and he was there at the same time.  i recognized him because he was dressed in the white robes of a monk and i had a brief interchange with him on the plane when i asked if i could share his row of three and he declined saying he ws gonna strecth out to sleep.  it turns out he's a part of a group called the missionaries of the poor.  they are a group of people, i think just men, who live a monastic life in jamaica caring for the poor all over the world.  he is here in Uganda for a short time before he'll travel to kenya to look into their mission there.  i got some information from him and will hopefully keep in touch.
 
we'll go to church with the group tomorrow, which is always an interesting experience.  they worship so differently from us in the u.s. and yet it is so effective for them.  God works in all kinds of ways through al kinds of people.
 
i was able to upload some photos to flickr.  the keyword for this group is "Uganda trip 2007".  i can't get a link right now so i hope you can find them.

5.11.2007

raring to go

it's day 2 now and i'm finally getting acclimated to the time change.  we haven't started any video business yet, but i've been shooting some photos and spending a lot of time thinking about what the video stuff needs to look like.  i'm gonna try to schedule next week with the choir for a few days.  i'm also gonna get hannington' story  and sam straxy's story (not that that means much to you now but hopefully will soon).

i also need to find a way to compel people about the need that exists.  there are success stories, sure, but i think people are compelled to give to a need, not to something that happened last year.  i just don't want it to feel like there's some black hole that sucks money in with no effect.  i've been blown away by how things that we did last year are talked about.  especially things that seem like no big deal.

for example, we went to northern uganda (gulu) for like 5 days last year.  i didn't feel like we did much other than make some contacts and talk to some kids about sponsorship.  then today i was showing my friend jonathan some pictures from gulu last year (nice work jen) and he was remarking that some people from gulu came to their church after we'd left and talked about what an impact it had on them.   we had given some blankets and mosquito nets out, but it just seemed like such a token thing.  jonathan told me a different story. 

i guess more than anything it reminded me that what we do in love, no matter how small it seems (and it always seems smaller to us) people are touched.  it makes me a little uncomfortable to hear thanks from people for our contribution because it really does feel like such a tiny drop in the bucket.  i feel like i want to tell them all the bad things i've done in my life as a reminder that i'm not as good as they might think.  but i think they know.  in the same way that i am grateful when i'm blessed, so are they.  when someone does something for me that feels great to me, i don't care if they're not a saint.  i don't even care if the help they gave me is a big deal or not.  i just want them to know how grateful i am.  i guess i'm just way more comfortable being on the thanking end than the other.  maybe God can teach me to be more humble through this.

i'll try to upload photos sometime, but it seems like a lost cause.  if i do, you'll be among the first to know.

5.10.2007

in uganda at last

we arrived at entebe this morning about 7:45.  one of my bags was left in london, but what's a brother to do?  at least that was the only complication for the group.  seeing all our ugandan friends has been sogood and has really reminded me why i love them so much. 
 
on a side note, as we were leavng the airport we saw the hanger that keith and janderson worked out of when they were here.
 
the day's been good.  we're all exhausted and joosung's a little sick, but i think a good night's rest will do wonders.
 
i'm gonna get to see a kid we sponsor, daniel matsiko, tomorrow.  his health has been shaky so we're gonna get him checked out and hopefully pinpoint the problem. 
 
i don't think we're gonna travel tokenyawith the group from corbin college.  it would be a big chunck out of our time here and i'm not sure we could complete the opther projects.  plus, the last few days here will be spent in villages doing the sponsiorship and medical work that we did last time.
 
out of time on this machine.  later

5.09.2007

we're in london

it's like 11:30 am in sandpoint and 7:35 pm in London.  the flight was fine.  i slept quite a bit and tried 3 times to watch  "the painted veil" or something like that.  it was so slow ad i was too tired for that kind of story.  there were several kids on board, which i barely noiced until we were about to land.  one of them somewhere behind me was completely inconsolable for the last 30 minutes or so.  it didn't bother me a lick.  i wanted to offer to help the parents out.  as we walked out the gangway to the terminal, joosung couldn't stop talking about how annoyed he was with the kids.  i guess experience is a powerful teacher.  i remember the stress of flying across country with ani, let alone across the world. 

we're at heathrow where we arrived this morning at noon local time.  we had a 9 hour layover ahead of us, so joosung and i decided to go into london or a few hours.  kevin had a paper to type and send for his master's class so he stayed behind.  we picked up the "tube" (subway) at the airport.  it cost about $12 for a day pass to go wherever.  the tube ride was interesting in terms of the people on it.  it struck me like a scene from an indie film.  there was a young woman who appeared, to me, to be french.  she was checking her face in her compact,then pulled out an apple for a snack.  the guy across from me was engulfed in his music.  there was a couple standing together in the corner enjoying each others' company.  there was another young woman with huge hoop earrings talking with an older woman and listening to her music.  joosung and i dozed in and out of sleep throughout the almost hour-long ride.we went in to piccadilly circus and walked from there.

our first stop was mcdonalds, naturally, where we spent about $9 a piece on value meals.  london's expensive, man.  we were gonna go to a pub but i don't think we had enough money.  we walked from there the absolute wrong direction for about 10 minutes before joosung realized that we were going in the wrong direction.  we got directions and were on our way.  we saw trafalgar square, westminster abbey and the london eye .  it was good times.  we just shot some photos and some video.  it rained a bit but not bad.  we walked a lot, like 2 hours worth.

back in the airport now and getting ready to board in 40 minutes or so.  kevin and joosung and i bought some sandwiches at a litte deli that were pretty good.  still expensive though. i can't imagine how anyone can afford to live here.

after dinner, kevin and i sat in the cafe area for a while.  a family sitting across the room came and went, occupying their kids in the meantime between flights.  the youngest girl cried at one point and it made me sad because she sounded like ani.  i miss her and jen so much already.  hopefully it'll get easier once we really get to work.

another 10 hours and we should be there.  posts may be sporadic, but i'll do my best. 

5.07.2007

leaving on a jet plane

since i've been remiss with my blogging habits of late, most of you (both of you) won't know that i'm leaving for uganda tomorrow.  i'm going for 3 weeks with the international children's network .  i'll be doing mostly video work to support the goal of providing the opportunity for education to children who would not have it otherwise.  i won't be alone.  i'll be with my friends kevin caudle and joosung kwon.  i'll be posting to my blog along the way so stay tuned for more info.  i'll try to post pics too, but don't know how that'll work.

anyway, i'll be back stateside the 28th of may and prayers are much appreciated.

5.01.2007

yard sale photos

Here are some photos.

 

This is the pile after the first day.

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Here are some photos from day 2:

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100_2303.JPGó100_2304.JPG