#1 May 27th Dubai, UAE. Travel from JAX to JFK went well with no issues except that our luggage did not connect to the Emirates flight and came the next morning. It is hot here in Dubai and there is a disincentive to want to be outside until after 5pm. Jet lag seems like it is more of a problem the older we get. Dan was affected on the JFK-Dubai flight by altitude sickness and prescription drug imbalances resulting in low oxygen and fatigue. He was cared for by some of the flight attendants. BTW the flight crew were from 11 nations including Thailand, the Philippines and Eastern Europe.
We were tested yesterday for COVID and received our negative results for our flight to Alexandria Friday night. Dubai has a mask mandate inside, outside, on the street, and it is a pain. This is inspite of almost 78% vaccination of residents and citizens. You figure it! Today we will be meeting with some media producers and talk about a one day workshop we are planning in mid June.
Appreciate your prayers:
-As of right now Pakistan seems to be requiring a quarantine even with a negative test – a quarantine that will exceed our workshop time. In addition, Emirates Air will carry passengers to Pakistan but not back to Dubai.
-Egypt has been in lockdown all of May and registration is low for our workshops. Pray that registration will increase.
-Pray for the students who will attend that they will be prepared to learn and use the skills in their ministry.
-For health. Wearing these masks can cause irritation! Pray for overall health.
#2 June 1st Alexandria, Egypt – We are starting to teach filmmaking in a few minutes (Tuesday to Saturday). One of our 18 students started coughing at his office and decided to get a PCR test. This means the other 4 at his office will wait to see if this guy is positive before coming to class. Everyone is on edge here – only 2 million out of 100 million have been immunized! Chris and I are glad of the Moderna shots.
Yesterday, we met at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo regarding their Masters in Media Leadership program. We will be pro bono consultants to help them make changes to their courses and we will most likely teach at least one summer 2022 term course in Social Media.
Our second course here in Alexandria has been cancelled due to low enrollment and we are considering other locations for that week. In addition, we zoomed with the coordinators of the Pakistan workshop and will prayerfully go ahead as long as Emirates will fly us into the country – currently they say they are restricting people to fly back to Dubai! If this is true we will change our tickets and fly to Doha and then to East Africa a week early. All up in the air and appreciate your prayers on this and the workshop this week!
#3 June 4th Alexandria, Egypt – We are starting the 4th day of this workshop with 12 students. They have finished 3 projects, 2 in filming and editing with their Smartphones and on recording an interview. Tomorrow they start planning for their final project, a 5-8 minute drama.
We have been able to change the date of our ticket to Dubai so we can use the open week to teach a four day workshop. We do have a ticket to Pakistan on June 12th so we will conduct a filmmaking workshop to 26 students. We were originally going back to Dubai for a time out but Dubai cancelled our ticket because they will not allow people from Pakistan on their flights. We were able to book a Qatar Airways flight from Lahore to Doha to Arusha for two workshops at a Christian college.
Today we get our COVID tests so we can fly on Sunday! Healthwise we are doing well!
#4 June 12th United Arab Emirates – After getting our 5th negative PCR test we will be getting onto a flight at midnight tonight to Lahore, Pakistan, arriving at 4:15am where we will get our 6th test at the airport! Here it has been 100-105 deg with a real feel of 110-111. In Lahore it looks to be cooler but with higher humidity. We will have 27 students at the workshop. We were scheduled to do a brief workshop here but one of the students is in the hospital so the organizers cancelled the shooting/editing day. I am including the link to a short video we made just after the Alexandria workshop, https://youtu.be/UDGs_3JPq3s and the films completed during our five day workshop – https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1KLuyejDAHVbJMK0vQaR1OLnLDwnx1t8
#5 June 15th Lahore, Pakistan – Another flight was cancelled due to “operational” reasons. From Lahore to Doha-Tanzania! We reached out to you for prayer and last night we found a somewhat more expensive flight via Turkish airlines to Istanbul then Tanzania. We were issued tickets and so far we will leave early Sunday morning (20th) for our next adventure. We just finished our first workshop day here and have had digestive bouts. Here are some pictures.
#6 June 27th Arusha, Tanzania – We got on that Turkish Airways flight at 7am 6/20 from Lahore to Istanbul to Dar-es-Salaam, TZ where we had to take our 7th Covid test (negative) before getting on a domestic flight to Arusha and having to pay $120 overweight baggage. We have been staying at the Habari Maalum Media Center guest house at 4600 feet elevation and temps in the low 50’s and mid 70’s – quite a change from well over 100 degrees in Lahore. Tomorrow we start on our fourth workshop at Habari Maalum College. This week we have been producing news stories for Global News Alliance – One with an old friend, Kiwia who drives Sinema Leo Mobile cinema vans – showing Christian films to 5-600 people at each stop. 2nd an interview on the effects of covid on the staff and students at Habari Maalum College and 3rd a project to take one of the most popular Christian films CHECKPOINT and convert the last known 16mm print to digital for immediate use on mobile vans in Tanzania, Ghana and other locations across Africa. We have started a “Harambee Fundraising Project” to raise the necessary $1200 for digitizing and distribution of the digital masters. If you are interested click this link: https://tinyurl.com/CheckpointFilm.
Just this week we learned that Ethiopia has changed their visa requirements and tightened entry requirements due to COVID. We thought we would have to go to the Ethiopia embassy but there is not one in Tanzania! However, it appears that since we already have a e-visa we will have no problem traveling on July 10th.
#7 July 3rd Arusha, Tanzania – We are writing in this lull between our first filmmaking workshop and the start of the mobile journalism workshop on the 5th. We are including a photo of our students minus two. Final projects included the link attached for a short film on social media addiction and consequences. Two other projects are being re-editing as I write. We had some good news regarding Ethiopia and the last workshop (40 participants) in that they will accept our existing electronic visas and we will not have to register our Covid test with the African Union to make this flight on July 10th. It is cold here, down to 47 at night and highs in the mid 70’s at a elevation of nearly 4,000 feet. Coming from Egypt, Dubai and Pakistan with temps up to 108 has been a hard transition. Addis Ababa’s elevation is over 7000 feet with lower day and night temperature.