Thursday, December 18, 2008

Conflict in Jos

I should have written about this sooner, but I'm not really a reporter. Even if I had written earlier, I wouldn't have been able to add any news about the conflict. So now, about 3 weeks after the violence broke out, I guess I'll give a summary for those who haven't heard anything about it. Please understand that this is NOT necessarily an accurate account, but rather my collection of the fragments that I gleaned from online news agencies.

Back around Thanksgiving (for us Americans), there was an election in Jos for what I will call a ctiy councilman's seat. After early predictions that the predominantly Muslim party's candidate was going to win, people gathered to see the results. When no results came, they got restless and feared that the government was tampering with the results...not an uncommon practice in one of the world's most corrupt nations. Violence broke out and soon the political tension mixed with religious/ethnic tension and it escalated. I have heard numbers that put the total number of deaths above 400, but who knows what is accurate. Homes, churches, businesses, and home-based prayer centers for the Muslims were burned. The Faith Alive clinic escaped without damage, though several of their staff lost homes and I would imagine that many patients lost theirs as well. The last I heard from Dr. Chris was actually a letter from a California woman who has been at the clinic for a few years now. She said that the clinic was operating at a lesser capacity than normal and that the staff had not all returned. Things essentially were taking a back seat to the recovery process.

I was alerted about the violence through an e-mail sent by one of my fellow travelers. If not for that, I would have had absolutely no idea that anything was happening. To the best of my knowledge, the rioting didn't even make a ripple here in the US media. All of my subsequent information came from and That same weekend, as you may know, gunmen terrorized Mumbai, India. That tragedy which claimed the lives of 179 people, garnered all of the headlines, while the deaths of 400+ in Jos didn't even warrant a mention. Now , I am not trying to say that one event was more tragic than another, the loss of any life is tragic, no matter the location or number of people lost. My theory is that the loss of 400 lives in Africa is not big enough to merit serious media attention. I have nothing to back this up with, it is strictly opinion, but I think that Africa sees so much turmoil that news agencies must have a cutoff for how many people have to die before it becomes newsworthy. But even then, why aren't we hearing daily updates about Darfur? For some reason, Africa is still the lost continent.

I hope that anyone who is reading this will pray for peace and healing throughout our world and for God's love to be felt by all people. May God be with you this holiday season. Merry Christmas.

If you are interested in making a contribution to Faith Alive, please visit their website Share the love of Christ by making a donation in the name of a loved one instead of a traditional present this year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes, I'm Still Around

Hey I'm back. Well, kind of. I don't really have any intention of blogging as often as I once did, but I noticed that someone has been checking in to see if anything has been added to this site. So for that person and anyone else who happens to stumble through here, here's what you have to look forward to. Mainly, I want to get back into the habit of posting videos on a regular basis. I still have a lot of interview footage that no one has seen except me. There are some really compelling stories and they may serve to bring more attention to Faith Alive and even the whole HIV epidemic in Africa.

I got a little burned out before, essentially working on Faith Alive videos for 5-6 months after my trip, on top of the 40 hours I put in at work each week. It's sad because I really enjoyed the making them. That's a topic for another day.

So, that's it. A short update. Please leave comments if you have any specific things you want to know about.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Food for Thought

I'm not posting a video this week. I could tell you one of several reasons/excuses, but all you need to know is that there won't be a video this week. Instead, enjoy the week and take some time to reflect on how blessed we are as Americans as we carry on the spirit of July 4th.

God be with you!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Faith Alive Interview Series Part 6

If anyone checked out my YouTube page in the past week may have already seen this. But if not, I hope you enjoy it! To answer my mom's question, all of these videos were filmed in Jos, Nigeria. The interesting thing in the interviews with Dr. Chris is the fact that every once in a while you can hear what sounds like a crowd cheering in the background. Admittedly, it's very faint and I can pick it out easier cause I was there for the original recording but it's there in a couple of shots. The cheering is just that, cheers. We were filming during a soccer game between Nigeria and Ghana during the Africa Cup tournament. The game wasn't nearby, but nearly every Nigerian with access to a television was glued to it that night. The security staff at Faith Alive was gathered out by the entrance to the clinic watching, so when Nigeria made a good play, we heard it inside. Another interesting note is the fact that the electricity was on that night. It was generally out by that hour or spotty at best. Apparently an electrical company's office or a sub-station was burned to the ground the last time a Nigerian soccer match was interrupted when the power went out, so it's something of a priority for them to keep the power going during games. But doesn't it seem funny that they can keep it running when they want to? You would think that it could actually be on all the time given their performance for the soccer matches. Oh well, that's Nigeria for you.

God be with you all!