Here’s something you don’t hear everyday. A local Fort Worth band, describing itself as the baby of U2 and Tom Petty, will be going to Uganda this summer to do humanitarian work.Guitarist Josh Jenkins, 21, and lead vocalist and guitarist Jamey Ice, 22, both for Green River Ordinance, said their trip will start in Kenya building wells with the humanitarian group Blood:Water Mission.
After building wells in Kenya, GRO plans go to Uganda for three weeks to help in any humanitarian work they can.
Paul Steele, manager to GRO, said they are official artists for Invisible Children and have done eight concerts so far raising money for IC.
Jenkins said seeing the Invisible Children film was what prompted them to want to help.
“After watching the Invisible Children video we were left asking, what can we do?,” Jenkins said.
“We’ve always wanted to play music but we didn’t want that to be it,” Jenkins said. “We want to stand for something, we want this to be kind of our ministry.”
Jenkins, looking like a cross between Shaggy and Chris Martin of Coldplay, with his long hair and green shirt, said he knows the trip will be different from what they have become accustomed to living in the United States.
“We know it’s going to be different,” Jenkins said. “We’re five white guys from Texas, so doing a project like this will put our perspectives into place, and we will learn a whole lot at the same time,” Jenkins said.
Ice said he wants their music to go beyond just the band and leave a larger impact on the culture.
“We don’t want it to terminate on ourselves,” Ice said. “We’ve been given such an opportunity to help and we want to use it to be voice among many. A lot of people are talented, helping in whichever they can,” he said.
Jenkins chimed in saying that their talent is music and it would be selfish for them to simply play music.
Ice, jittering in his chair, getting excited thinking about going to Uganda, is a former TCU student and a former member of a co-ed fraternity aptly named Frarority.
“I’m ready to get my world rocked,” he said with a smile.
Ice is no stranger to humanitarian work. He has gone to Central America on mission trips, including Guatemala, Belize and Honduras.
“You go over there and you see people happy with so much less than what we have here. We have so much to gain,” he said.
Antoine Scott, a senior biology major, said he appreciated how GRO are taking the extra step to make a difference outside their community.
“Don’t get me wrong, they are a band, but I feel they are striving for much more,” he said. “I feel they are using their talents to be more than just a band but a unified group of people trying to do their part and make a difference – true agents of change aware and responsive,” Scott said.
Steele said both he and the band do not want to limit their work to Uganda solely.
“I’ve worked a lot with Blood:Water Mission before,” Steele said. “They have a campaign to build 1,000 wells in Africa. We want to go wherever we can get our hands dirty.”
Steele will be accompanying GRO on the trip and said he and GRO understand the importance of this trip and Africa is worth supporting.
Despite humanitarian work and International Children being popular in the news, Steele said he does not want their intentions to be seen as profiting on this popularity. He said they want to go wherever people need help and help as many people as they can within in a months time.
Jenkins reiterated the same concern of the trip being seen as just jumping on the bandwagon.
Steele doesn’t know of any other bands doing the same type of trip. He said several local bands are doing charity concerts but GRO is the only band he said is going to Africa to aid in humanitarian work.
“The whole indy-scene is picking up on Africa,” Steele said.
Steele said they will travel anywhere that is within a days’ travel around Uganda.
Neither the funding nor the locations of the trip have been finalized yet. Steele said the details of the trip would be finalized within the next two weeks.