Children everywhere love to see photos. On my first day in Southern Sudan I met a little girl named Dorothy at the Cornerstone Children’s Home. Most of those who know her call her by her nickname, Nyonyo. I was carrying my camera at the time so she pleaded, “I want to see the photos.”
After showing her some of the pictures she approached me later on asking to see the photos on my phone. Every time I saw her for the first couple days I was there she repeated in the same begging voice, “I want to see the photos.”
One evening I saw her and jokingly said the same thing to her using her tone of voice. She promptly disappeared and then returned with a small photo album. I sat down on the concrete with her as she told me about the people in her photos.
There are a few moments in life where your experience collides with your interests, making you feel like it is a great time to be alive. Flying over Uganda this past week on our way to South Sudan provided one of these moments. Here’s what I wrote in my Field Notes shortly after we took off.
“I am so happy right now. I’m on an adventure and nothing makes me feel more alive than experiences like this. I am presently on an MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) flight from Entebbe, Uganda to Nimule, South Sudan. We are on a small 12 passenger plane. The seats are covered with a tough canvas and the controls look vintage but capable.
Stepping off the plane in Entebbe, Uganda, my immediate feeling was that I had arrived at my second home. I love being in East Africa and it feels great to be back. We spent our first day acclimating around Lake Victoria and preparing for our flight into Sudan the following day. One highlight of the day was enjoying a delightful dinner at Olubugo, a new restaurant in Entebbe built to support the admirable work of Aid Child in Uganda. Check out the great work that they are doing to care for vulnerable children at www.AidChild.org Here are a few of the pictures of our first day in East Africa
I have embarked upon my third journey to East Africa. Stepping off the plane this morning in Uganda I looked out over Lake Victoria and it felt wonderful to be back in this region. I feel more at home in East Africa than anywhere else outside of my home country in the United States.
The story of why I am here starts about six years ago when I co-founded a project called Mission Focus. Our intent was to provide creative communication services, such as web, video, photography and writing, for those engaged with critical causes around the globe. We have since changed the name to Bridge Cause because we build a bridge between causes and the creatives who can help them reach supporters.
The other co-founder, Brian Denton, runs Incendia Creative, a creative agency in Monterey, California. A local group approached him over the summer to help them build a web-presence for their project to support the Cornerstone Orphanage in Nimule, Southern Sudan.
Life seems to creep up on me most of the time. Just a moment ago that deadline was a long way off and then suddenly it is here. This is especially true when a trip is coming up. How does this happen?
One of my favorite quotes is “Life is what happens while you are waiting for life to happen.” When I just went to research the source I realized that this isn’t actually a quote. John Lennon penned the lyrics, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” I’m not sure how I came up with my own mangled version of this quote but it still expresses the point. The big things that are coming up in our lives are closer than they appear.
I thought long and hard about what to give Bethany, my girlfriend, for her birthday this year. I wanted the gift to be a creative way to remember some of our best moments together. Working my way through many iterations of this potential gift I finally landed on an idea that seemed to have potential.
I found a bulletin board with a natural wood frame and a surface that resembled canvas. Realizing that it was not only Bethany’s style but also a great way remember our adventures, I knew that I had finally uncovered the right gift.
I have reflected recently on how much insight artists seem to have on life. As they convey their own feelings, experiences and ideas through art they reach us in unexpected ways.
I used to think that I was primarily a philosophical thinker. While pursuing knowledge I began to feel like I was drying up so I picked up photography. I received so much affirmation from friends and family for my initial efforts that I began to lean back toward art as my primary form of expression. This may have been partially due to the fact that I was required to read and write for my education while art was purely voluntary and fun.
When I graduated from seminary and was no longer required to do so much writing I started to enjoy it again as a way to articulate what I was learning from life. Now I’m trying to find where these two vehicles of expression collide. I think and therefore I write. I feel and therefore I express. I want both my writing to convey art and my art to express truth.
This is the initial blog post I have written first in a memo book before typing it up. I have been reconnecting with the natural transfer of thought from pencil to paper and it has been both fun and inspiring. The classic style of Field Notes and the story behind them is largely responsible for this rebirth.
I have been interested in Field Notes ever since they were first released. Although attracted to their classic style I didn’t know how I would use them since I was capturing more and more of my life through digital means.
I have tried out every writing or handwriting app that I could find for iPad and iPhone only to make a surprising discovery. The apps that I liked best most closely imitated physical notebooks. This begs the question, why use an imitation rather than the real deal?
Exploring the intersection between apps and life has become almost a hobby for me. I like discovering ways to do things better. Although apps and a digital workflow present a significant advantage in many areas, replacing notebooks might be where they have met their match.
I feel like my blog has become a series of posts about how I am back to writing with many moons transpired between them. Here we go again. Why am I such an inconsistent writer? The answer is both simple and complicated.
The simple answer is that I tend to focus on projects in cycles. Traveling always stimulates my writing but I hardly take the time to record insights from day to day life. Consistency with blogging is key and this is certainly not my strength.