The Nadus Film crew is back…

Nadus Films

The Nadus Film crew is back in the states and recovering from
what was a long and productive journey in Sudan.

Before going any further, I want to say this: There’s an
amazing story that will follow the current updates I am about to mention.
So I encourage you to read the following, and then enjoy the “final
Africa chapter” that the Nadus film crew endured prior to flying
back.

There’s a lot on our plate. And we’re eagerly
anticipating what’s in store for Nadus Films. The feature length
documentary, “The New Sudan,” is expected to be released in the
Spring of 2008. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then.
At this time, the Nadus staff is doing its best to pave the road through the
course of editing. This 8 month period will involve the editing of
“The New Sudan” and distribution of the film. The film festival
circuit will happen through the course of 2008 as well. As I mentioned
prior, there is a lot on our plates. Nadus Films is in need of 3 things
currently, in order of priority:

Prayer + Finances + Partnerships
We need your thoughts and prayers to endure the long process of
editing and distribution.We need your money to help pay for the staffing hours, equipment
needs and film festival entry fees. To put it plainly: It takes money to
get things done. We need money. Please consider making a donation by
sending in a check or using the convenient credit card service available on
the home page.

We need partnerships to deliver the promise that Nadus Films has
made to the Sudanese people. Our partnerships will serve in the areas of
water purification, medical awareness/medicine, educational supplies and
training and pastoral training. All of these are what the Sudanese are
asking for. There’s no hidden agenda here. We’re simply answering
the call of those that are in great need.

Nadus Films will begin sending out a monthly+ email update. When you can, please
submit your email address on the field provided on the
homepage. By doing so, you’ll receive exciting updates that Nadus FIlms
will share with the community.

So many great things are happening within Nadus Films. We desire to
share this vision and road with all that are willing. Please check back
frequently for updates and news.

Now for that story I mentioned in the beginning….
On the way to Sudan, we stayed over a night in
Entebbe, Uganda. The town/airport of Entebbe sits right on Africa’s
largest lake-Lake Victoria. Of course, we adventurers decided to take a
boat out in the lake. We ended up doing so on the way to Sudan. We hired a
young man named Francis to take us out in the water for about an hour.
Francis is a 27 year old Ugandan with a boat that would be comparable to a
canoe. Well, it was a canoe, just a bit bigger.

Our first experience with Francis was great. We got on the
water, got off the water. No complaints. Francis mentioned to us that
during our layover in Entebbe on the way back to the states, we should go
with him to monkey island. Evidently, there’s an island that is a 45
minute boat ride on Lake Victoria. On this island are “wild
monkeys”. Visitors can explore and view monkeys in their natural habitat. We
were stoked at the possibility to go.

The time came. We had spent a full month away from our friends and family, but
with a 9 hour layover in Entebbe, looked forward to spending some of that time at “monkey island.”
We call the cell phone number Francis
gave us and make plans to head with him to the island. We eat a nice
lunch and make our way to the beach where he docks his “boat”.
We’ve hired our cab driver for the day, thank God. You’ll learn why
I am thanking God later in the story.

We get to the beach on Lake Victoria and Francis meets us with a
high-five and a “you ready to party?” speech. We said we were and went
on our way.

(Now, please understand; What I am about to tell you seems like
it was a good idea at the time, but after telling this story several times
and now writing it, I realize that what we carried on to the boat was a very
poor decision on my part.) We ended up taking all of our equipment and film
stock on the boat. Reason being that we didn’t trust people when
they were out of our sight, and leaving it with the cabbie didn’t seem like
the best idea either. So, we stepped on to the boat with our 75+ hours of priceless
stock footage (read the previous posts) and all our equipment. Yikes! Yeah,
yeah… I know.

We ended up shelling out $200.00 for this boat ride. Steep, I
know, but it was the end of the trip. We were already out on the water
and had a window of time that was steadily dwindling. We wanted to be on
our way. We paid the $200.00 and Francis left to get the gas. Francis was
gone about an hour. So, there we were….. hanging out in a canoe on the
water of Lake Victoria, roasting. We weren’t very happy. When Francis
returned, it was a sight for sore eyes. He had with him 3 jerry cans of gasoline
(about 8 gallons) AND 3 of his buddies, not including the guy he left with us on the boat.
So, we’re looking at 4 americans and 5 africans. 9 people on
a glorified canoe. Awesome.

We set out. After about 20 minutes, I said to William “Do
you see any land?”. He answered, “Francis said it would take about 45
minutes to get out there”. I felt better and thought, “Maybe he’s
right”.

Two hours later, we reach monkey island. We were fuming. But
we couldn’t unleash it on our driver who owned the boat that was our only transportation.
We dock at monkey island and see signs all over the place about rules, etc. It didn’t
seem very rugged. The manager came out to meet us and was
surprised that we would boat all this way when they were closed.

What?!?!

Closed? Since when do monkeys have watches? Evidently, this was a protected
animal sanctuary with monkeys. It was run by the Ugandan government. I was
so mad. (Random note: As I was pleading with the monkey manager to let us
in, a bird flew into William’s head.)

The manager was not budging. What he did say was that it
wouldn’t be worth the money. Money?!?!? It was going to cost us $20 a
head. That’s another $100 tacked to the expensive trip that lead
us nowhere. On top of it all, our cabby is expecting us back in about a
half an hour, and we haven’t even begun the 2-hour voyage back yet. Our flight
leaves in about 3 hours. The sweat is beginning to roll.

Oh yeah, and….. we used 2 of our 3 jerry cans of gas on the
way. Do the math. I asked Francis if we had enough gas to get back. He said confidently,
“Sure my friend. On the way back, we go with the current…
need less gas”. I thought this was possible, but I was
skeptical.

As we were leaving monkey island, frustrated and getting
strained on time, I asked Francis again if we needed more gas. He said that
we would stop along the way to get some. I thought this was a good idea.
The area he was referring to to get gas was a small island filled with
people and shacks. Literally, this island was the size of a city block. As
we pulled up to the shoreline, over a hundred people were looking at us.
We were a sight to be seen. One gentleman began waving his hands at us to
leave. They didn’t want us there. We weren’t sure why. Francis
yelled to him that he would be the only one getting off the boat. The man
agreed. Evidently, they don’t like tourists on this island. For good
reasons I’m sure, but, nonetheless, we weren’t welcome.

Francis comes back with a half a jerry can of gas. In my
opinion, not enough. His excuse for not getting more was, “very
expensive here”. I was fuming once again.

We were on our way again, and the sun was
setting very quickly. I realized also that we were going a lot slower on
the way back then we were on the way to monkey island. Why? Because we were
running our of gas. The reason I knew we were running out of gas was
because a.) Francis’ friends were tilting the jerry can containers to
milk as much gas as they could and b.) Francis’ boss called and I heard him tell
him, “Boss, you might need to send a rescue boat out to us, because
we’re running out of gas and I’m not sure we’re going to make
it.”

At this point, Francis and I began to argue. But
still, I couldn’t burn this bridge or we’d really be in trouble. We began to feel the
seriousness of the situation. We’re running
out of gas in the middle of Lake Victoria. We have all of our gear and tape
stock with us. And there’s a small leak in the back of the boat (forgot
to mention this earlier). Our prayers began getting a bit more
intense.

The plan was to try and make it to an island between us and the
mainland. I immediately asked Francis if this island had a road leading to
the airport. He said it did. At that time, the cabby coincidentally called
Francis on the phone. Fortunately, they exchanged numbers prior to us
leaving for monkey island. This really helped us! I told our cab driver to
pull his vehicle on to the beach so that we’d see him. He said no
problem.

We were steadily getting closer to the beach. We were going as
fast as my 1.5 year old son walks. It was so frustrating because the land didn’t
seem to be getting any closer, even after half an hour. By that point,
our window of time was getting dangerously close. We only had about
an hour and a half before our plane departed, and they close the gates an hour
prior to take-off. So, we had a half-hour left and we were not even on dry
land yet. To make things worse, we could see planes taking off and landing
at the airport. We were so close. We had
contemplated taking the “canoe” up to the airport but realized there’d be a good chance we’d be shot.
So, we nixed that idea with little to no consideration of actually following through with it.

Oh wait, it gets worse…..
Large jagged rocks began passing us in the boat. We were getting
close to the land now. Unfortunately, with land comes land. And this land was
appearing in the form of large jagged rocks. We immediately hung over the
side of the boat calling out the way around rocks we saw were going to be in our way,
“LEFT, LEFT, RIGHT, etc.” We were now just a hundred feet or so
from the shore. Evidently, Francis didn’t want to pull the boat in all
the way. So instead, he jumped off with his empty jerry can to get more
gas. So frustrating.

We were asking the rest of the guys in the boat to pull us into
shore. They said they couldn’t because it would damage the boat. Truly,
we could care less. We had about 20 minutes to get to the airport and we
could almost taste the sand. We were no longer playing nice. Tyler threw
out the idea of us getting naked and swimming to shore. We gave Francis
another 2 minutes before taking off our clothes. We stripped down under the
Ugandan moonlight and wrapped our clothes and equipment around our head
and shoulders. The idea of sitting on an 8+ hour flight drenched with Lake
Victoria water was not appealing. William, for whatever reason, refused to
take off his clothes. Instead, he demanded that one of the guys carry him
to the shore. What a sight! This man agreed because he didn’t have a
choice. So, William got on the mans shoulders and was carried to the shore.
The rest of us put our clothes back on and gathered our gear. Thank God no
one had gotten wet or lost any equipment.

A minute after hitting land, our cabby pulled up quickly onto
the sand. The timing was perfect. We threw our gear in the back of the
little sedan and were on our way. It was 15 kilometers to the airport. We
had 15 minutes.

On the way out of the little village, I heard someone banging on
the car. It was Francis with his jerry can of gas. Incredibly, I was
able to restrain what I really wanted to say and do. Instead, I yelled
to him in a very angry and disappointed tone, “Forget you Francis!”
Everyone in the car got a real kick out of it.

We made it to the airport exactly on time. At the point of check-
in, we had exactly 1 hour left. The gates were closing and we were in.
Thank God. Looking back, it was a surreal experience. I realized about half-
way through the boat trip that we were being taken advantage of by Francis.
If he told us how long it would really take to get out to Monkey Island,
and, that they’d be closed (which he knew), he wouldn’t have gotten
any money at all.

It’s a good story but one that was really earned! Hopefully
it was worth the time reading. Stay posted for regular updates and
news!