- Last post
- 86 Responses
I missed this thread the first time around but seriously... WOW!
I was in a similar position as you about 5 or 6 years ago. I chose 'A'. Things have worked out just fine now and I don't necessarily have any regrets, but it makes you think about life.
Definitely an inspiring story, which we don't see nearly enough of on here. Thanks for sharing!
I have tons of stories, look for this thread to be hit for the next six months i'm still processing the trip.
We lived in a village 20 miles south of Yei, that means 20 miles south of electricity.
Since I was the media guy, I lucked out and got to visit Yei at least once every 2 weeks to dump all of my footage and re-charge everything. So I also was in charge of keeping in touch with people at home.
Once, while in Yei, I was riding on the back of a dirtbike taxi "bota bota" and we're going about 25 mph through town when a herd of cattle crosses the road. He slows down and then sees a break in the herd and guns it. This makes me real nervous so I bail (prob about 10 mph now, but he's getting faster) as soon as I slide in the dirt I look up to see the break in the herd close. A huge bull mounted a cow right in front of the driver. He hits the bull at about 25 mph. Knocks the half ton beast off (and out) of the cow on it's side. The whole town, including an armed military convoy (SPLM) erupts in cheers and laughter. Dude's bike was pretty messed up. WHEW!!!
And we're not talking your normal cows here:
We basically camped out for a month while we built a house. Lived with the locals for over two months. Contracted two wells to be dug in the village when we budgeted for one. Bought and trained the village on brick press to build their schools. Saw nine deaths in the village while we were there. Heard war stories every night. Saw crazy crazy spiritual stuff--the villagers told us that us showing up fulfilled a prophecy spoken in 1991 about white brothers and sisters living under this mango tree bringing water of life etc.
Oh and we ate a baby python.
^^ wow man. fantastic.
qbn mvp of the year.
how is it that you didn't get shot up, whitewolf? last i heard, southern sudan was a hella violent place...
also was it the group you were involved with that was shooting the video or was it yourself? either way, looks awesome.. also, what kind of camera were they/you using?
"Leave at the 8 month mark, and cash in on the opportunity to live in Southern Sudan/ Northern Uganda and work with a dear friend's humanitarian non-profit. "
In the current job climate this sounds like a dumb idea, at least you getting paid at the minute, there might not be a job you can come back to after that.
big trick, to answer your question--
I honestly believe our safety was a result of Divine intervention, but i'm not a preacher so one could message me about that, or get a beer.
About a month into it I got comfortable. I wasn't scared, I was nervous around military personnel. It is widely known that "photography" is illegal in Sudan. So every checkpoint we went through I was the guy with a bag full of cameras. But the more you realized that these grown men in military garb were just that same as the little kids looking for attention. You took the time to ask the soldier how long they have been in service, what their name was, what's their story and they melt. They would get all excited to show you their weapons, tell you embellished stories of how they almost died.
Seriously. A white person is huge thing of interest, and from the United States? "Wow Geroge Bush! He killed everyone in Iraq and Iran! He went crazy! We thought he was great when he liberated Kuwait because that meant we are next, liberating innoncence from Islamic extremist wanting oil! Thats US! but then Bush snapped and Killed everyone in Iraq"
"But that was George Senior.."
But yes, we saw very little violence. Most violence is inter-tribal conflict. As far as the political stuff Southern Sudan in under a cease-fire until 2011. The SPLM is an organized rebel movement, not a real government, but they are for the most part peaceful. Had once instance where the disabled soldiers shut down roads to Yei because they weren't given their pension in over six months, but that was right before we arrived.
The only real scary thing to worry about was the rebel groups, specifically the Lord Resistance Army, and land mines in some of the remote roads.
We didn't run into either, but heard many stories about people running into the LRA.
"They ask you two questions: Do you want to be Loved or Annyoed?
You say Loved, they let you go, but they cut your lips off so everyone knows who we are and that you are always smiling--spreading the love
You say Annoyed, and they drill a hole in your gums above and below your teeth, put a pad lock on your jaw and pack your nose with mud until you suffocate."
"Whoa! what about if we ran into them, what would they do to us?"
"You are white so they would want money and thats about it, but you are American so they probably wouldn't even bother with you, b/c they fear George Bush so much because he has killed everyone in Iraq they wouldn't want to chance messing with political stuff"
So yeah, George Bush was a friend to us over there, fancy that.
As soon I was on the plane ride home it hit me at how crazy this whole thing was. How stupid we "kids" were. I had an awesome emergency insurance plan and everything. But say if I had cut my leg real bad while working, it would be a good hour 1/2 for me to get to Yei, only to see if there is an available nurse on staff at one of the many NGO's stationed there, and hopefully they would have adequate supplies to prevent infection. Sure I had the coverage to send an emergency plane, but it would take alot of time.
if it were me i'd go with B.
you work to have experiences in life; go get 'em!
ok so I had a Canon Rebel XTI and some lenses. So I knew I was going to be shooting alot of photos. This was the 1st real group trip for this organization so documentation was everything. Our first project, basically making or breaking the future. If we get it done, it needs to be shown to the doners.
This is all we were prepared for--photography.
I had mentioned to the the founder/ leader that some video would be great so try to budget for a camera.
Last minute we got a huge donation that met all of our needs for the trip.
He called me up to go get a camera and learn how to use it, this was about 5 days before we left. So with very short time and very little research this is what I came up with for about $1500 which was our max budget for the cam.
Canon Vixia HF20 hd camcorder. 32gb Flash memory
Encinema35 depth-of-field adapter
(means I can use all the 35 mil lenses I have for my SLR with the camera for manual focusing/ making it look great)
4 hour battery expansion
Everything turned out awesome. Only thing is when I ventured into Yei to dump the camera I would just drag all the raw .mts files to a hard drive. We just had a PC laptop over there, so there was nothing to edit with.
Now that i'm back I have about 40 hours of footage to go through, most of it i'm seeing for the first time. Had some trouble with the .mts files, had to buy VolaicHD to convert them all, a suuuuper long process.
This is me the day before I left.
the aspect ratio is off and I didn't upload it in HD, but hey I was flying to Sudan the next day.
I had just got the Encinema35 DOF adapter and was learning how to use it. Oh and they suggest being very careful about dust on the adapter and the focusing glass. Well damn it, Sudan= the dustiest place in the world.
So the focusing glass is ruined, unless I want to make a horror film that is shot on a fermented super 8 cam.
Gotta get new focusing glass, probably about $50
Right now i'm on unemployment, remember I was "let go" by my firm before I put in a notice.
I'm working on going through all this media trying to get a good campaign going for this non-profit.
And i'm job hunting.
So who like this story enough to let me intern at their office?
Oh and maybe let me use their machine, hours of footage on this macbook pro is sloooowwwwwwwww
Awesome story, best of luck finding a job, hopefully things are better now than when you left.
Best of luck finding a job - that's one hell of a trip! I'm jealous for sure.
yeah best of luck dude... you have a portfolio website???
I can pass it around...
great bon iver song on that video... is that from a new album that I dont know about?
Fuck me wolf. That might be the most living you'll ever get to do.
You really want to intern? You don't want to go and do it again?
Yeah, i'm working on updating my porfolio site now. I basically only have student work on there, I gotta put up the stuff from the Design firm I worked at and this non-profit stuff i'm working on
You guys are going to hate me for this...
did I ever tell you about when I went to Tibet 4 years ago?
^ wow, there's a man who worked a bit outside a cubicle....