Give A Damn? Update from Rob

Hey kids, how's things.

Tuesday morning we left for California earlier than blue jays wake up and it's been non-stop filming/ man cuddling since we left. About an hour or two after our plane landed, we were already setting up for our first interview with the founder of The Falling Whistles Project, Sean Carasso. It was amazing and we all felt that we enjoyed almost everything that he brought to the table. In the past Dan has been asking most of the interview questions, but this time I made a point of shooting a few out there. I think the best part of this interview, not to discredit Sean, would have to be that we did the interview in a warehouse, with Dan and me seated on a shop vac and a bucket respectively. I dont know about you, but shop vac chairs scream Give A Damn? to me.

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"Give A Damn?" Update from Rob

I'll start by introducing myself; my name is Rob and I look forward to conversing back and fourth with everyone through this blog. I will gladly answer any questions you might have about myself or the film, but I'll warn you that most of the time you probably wont like the bluntness of my answers. Bottom line, I am offensive and I'm way past the point of dancing around the issues and people's feelings when we could be cutting through the crap and getting somewhere.

If you have seen the trailer then you most likely have a basic understanding of who I am, or at least who you might think I am. To the average viewer, I most likely come off as the atheist asshole who doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself. While I don't believe this to be the case, I certainly wont be so bold as to try and demand you think otherwise. I would also argue that my viewpoints are not a product of apathy and/or selfishness, I more so believe that I am the product of years of having propaganda-guilt-trip bullshit crammed down my throat. I think deep down a lot of people can relate to where I'm at, but most people just don't want to admit it and be the douche. Basically, I have no idea what my responsibility is to people half way across the world, but I'm willing to look into the issue and find out if we can make a difference.
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Destination Malawi

In less than three days I will be congregating with a team of fourteen eager excursionists in a church parking lot at 2:15 a.m. With twenty-eight suitcases among us and with a mental suitcase filled with the unknown and heavy with anticipation of a new adventure, we will launch ourselves willingly into an unforgettable experience.

Our destination: Malawi, Africa.

I’ve heard it said that Malawi is considered the Warm Heart of Africa. I’m ready to experience that warm heart first hand. At the same time, I am not naïve to the reality that creeps its way into the lives of Malawians. Life is not exactly easy going for many who live there. The life expectancy for males is estimated around the age of thirty-five and for the females it’s roughly thirty-nine years old.

Thoughts on an Old Memory

Recently I was reminded of a situation I witnessed on a hot summer day in 2003. I was traveling with a group of 17 and we were on our way to visit a Mother Theresa home called House of Peace just miles outside Kinshasa, Congo DRC. 

The House of Peace is an interesting name, considering it serves as both orphanage and hospice. Upon walking through the large iron gates, fully lined on the top with barbed wire and broken glass bottles, I noticed a black top play ground to the left, near a small building. On my right, were a handful of park benches, shaded by a large tree planted at the entrance of another building: this one larger than the one adjacent to it.

There was no one near the larger building to my right at first glance, yet, within seconds of entering through the gates, we heard laughter and the giggles of small children headed towards us coming from the smaller building.

"Give A Damn?" Update

Hows it going everyone?

We thought you might be interested in where we are at with this project.

As of right now, we are stationed in an office in St. Louis working all the time to try and get the word out about the film. We are consistently creating videos for our youtube/facebook/myspace/conversantlife pages (all those links are below.) Every day people come out of the wood works offering their help and support.

Next Tuesday, Rob, David and myself are headed to LA to get interviews with the people who run Invisible Children, The SOLD Project, and a few other non-profit organizations (Big thanks to our friend Rachel Burney for hooking a lot of that up.) We will be there for 9 days, getting interviews, promoting the film at concerts and events (a Big thanks to Rock 4 Justice) and doing some man on the street interviews.
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Why I (Dan) want to make Give A Damn?




The Just Ones

I’m a little behind in my reading. I just finished A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah.

 

I’m also a little late in my response to it. I’ve struggled to make sense of the story I read. It’s not that I didn’t know about the overwhelming amount of child soldiers forced into a life of brutality and violence. I’ve known the statistics for years. I’ve read King Leopold’s Ghost, watched Blood Diamond, I read weekly updates from dear friends of mine living in Goma, DRC (listen to them share about their ministries there here), I’ve even been to Congo DRC myself where there are a reported 7,000 child soldiers currently.

 
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The Cost of Conviction

I am not much of a cultural commentator. It's probably sacrilege to admit that on a site that's dedicated to the interaction of faith, news and culture, but except for an inexcusable affection for celebrity gossip, there's not much about the popular press that gets my riled up. Maybe its because I tend to be a long-range thinker and the burning issues of today, quickly become the burnt out concerns of yesterday. Or maybe its because I tend to be a pretty cerebral processor (I once read a book about bookshelves which is anathema to most people) and things like the latest political maneuver or the Ebert and Roper's movie reviews aren't of great interest. I say all that to say, my opinion on the proposal to drill in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Reserve) is barely informed and probably worth less than the paper it would take to portray it.  I tend to leave those things to the expert, alhough I would like it to cost less to fill up my car's gas tank. It turns out, I'm not alone in this.

The Give A Damn? office




Every legitimate company needs an office space. Then why do we have one you might ask. Well, so we can steal internet from the company beside us. So we can have a couch with a pull out bed for "frequent cat naps." So that the people at Panera don't give us dirty looks. And, the biggest reason we do anything, to pick up chicks. Ladies dig offices.

Zimbabwe (or How Do I Respond When Evil Prevails?)

On Sunday, June 29, Mr. Mugabe was sworn into his 6th term as the leader of  Zimbabwe.  

Though I have lived a good number of years in Africa, I confess to not being totally up on the sad history of this ravished country that has been pulled into despair over the 28 years that Mr. Mugabe has been in power.

This is what I DO know--

The people of Zimbabwe voted in March and their clear desire was that the ruling party exit immediately. The standing parliament and the president himself were shown to NOT BE the people's choice for their future.  The people spoke up and said it was time for something new. 

In the calm of the days after the election, the nation dared to believe that things were going well and that change was on its way.  But the calm was short-lived.

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