I think, perhaps, that was the feeling the Nadus film crew had for the majority of the day. We were graciously given the rare opportunity to go inside the Yei hospital to film. We were accompanied by one of the ones in charge of the hospital so we had free roam of wherever we wanted to go. We hit all the wards of the hospital.
The hospital was extremely cramped, depressing and dirty. Though the doctors were doing the best they could, the worst inner-city health clinic is 100 times better than their facilities. The things we saw will never leave our heads. If it weren’t for my sunglasses, I would have drawn even more attention because of the tears I was shedding.
There was one particular moment in our hospital endeavor where a family was lying around a glorified cot with their young son on it. This young boy could not have been older than 3 or 4 years old. The mood was a somber one with little said. The boy was lying towards the top of the bed, breathing irregularly. His eyes were open, his arms lay flat against the dirty sheets, and he was lifeless. Perhaps you’ve seen an elderly person in the last moments of their life. This was very similar. Perhaps, though, with the elderly man or woman, you were sad but ready to accept the natural-death. In this situation, death was all but natural. I wanted to picture this young boy filled with life. Perhaps as much as my son Abel or even the child just down the dirt road who is fetching water with a smile on his or her face. The doctors said the boy would more than likely die today. So, I bit my lip, shot the shot, told the family I would be praying for them and was on my way. What else could I do?
The rest of the time in the hospital was very powerful. Upon leaving, Tyler and I were walking together as a pick-up truck pulled swiftly in front of us. We quickly ran to the scene to see what the problem was. We found that the bed of the truck was filled with injured men and women. Some lay lifeless. As we filmed and photographed them being unloaded, we quickly found out that there had been a grenade attack; Perhaps one left over from the war. Evidently, the grenade was rigged with a trip wire. 9 were injured and 1 died. It was a horrific scene that doused us with a reality I’m not sure any one of us have yet experienced.
The rest of the day was busy since today was our last day filming. No matter how much you plan, there’s always those last minute things to get done. We were able to film an old tank (same one I did on the last trip). William, Elias and I ventured to this old tank in the middle of a field riddled with mines. Before, when I visited this tank, I was careful but wasn’t that educated on the danger of mines in this area. This trip, I’ve seen a mine go off and had just witnessed a grenade massacre at the hospital. I was a little more careful this time. I asked Elias what it sounded like when you step onto a mine (prior to stepping off of it). He explained that it makes a hissing sound; Kinda like air being let out of a balloon. You keep your weight on it, of course, and begin calling for help. If no one comes, you’re left to deal with it on your own. What you do is you jump flat backwards as fast as you can. If you’re lucky, you only lose your legs. I stepped where Elias stepped. See the pic at the top. Kinda comical.
We’ve unloaded most of our things here. Our travels back will be much lighter. We were able to give away and sell many things here in Yei. The leaders here in the community were grateful for the things we are able to leave behind.
It will be sad to say farewell to our friends tomorrow, but we’re ready to come home. We all dearly miss our wives and families. We are looking forward to the next leg of this project. Editing and fundraising will quickly begin. If you’re interested in giving to this project, please contact us.
This will be our last update. Thanks for being a part of this adventure with us. We can’t wait to release this feature-length film and mobilize able bodies who can help be a part of the rebuilding in Southern Sudan. It has begun………
The Nadus Film Crew in Sudan