The Good Road airs Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. on NJTV. See schedule.
The Good Road is an innovative, inspiring documentary series about two best friends who travel the world meeting philanthropists and change-makers, who have dedicated their lives to addressing global humanitarian issues. From depressed inner-city neighborhoods, to border camps for refugees, to rural health clinics, hosts Earl Bridges and Craig Martin explore efforts to help Rohingya refugees, stop elephant poaching, end human trafficking, alleviate poverty, and more.
Thursday, May 22 at 10:30pm
Mbale, Uganda: “Five Years if You’re Lucky.”
There are so many heroes in the world of philanthropy and The Good Road crew learns so much from these heroes. In this episode, Earl Bridges and Craig Martin meet two such heroes in the eastern part of Uganda.
Their journey to find them begins in a Matatu that takes them through the Ugandan countryside to a series of geographic gems like the “source of the Nile”. But after a long journey they arrive at their true destination- the Mbale Regional Referral Hospital. Once there, they meet up with an amazing couple, Kathy Bourgoine and Adam Hewitt-Smith, and their daughters Eseld and Lowenna.
Despite the fact that Kathy (a neonatologist) and Adam (an anesthesiologist) could be crushing it back in London, UK where they are from, they have decided to live and work in this remote city of Uganda not making a dime from their labors. And contrary to what you might think, they’re not doing it for Jesus. They’re both self-avowed atheists who are simply doing it for the people whose lives they change. They are do-gooders because doing good is the right thing to do. Kathy’s work in the NICU and Adam’s work in the hospital is saving lives, but the work is hard and stressful and takes its toll on their children.
Earl and Craig explore Kathy and Adam’s inspiring and at times heartbreaking world and discover all kinds of bizarre, funny, and interesting Ugandan cultural details along the way.
Thursday, May 29 at 10:30pm
Yangon, Myanmar: Punk Rock Buddha
This episode finds Earl and Craig back on the road in Southeast Asia in the former capital of one of the most politically controversial countries in the region, Myanmar. War, genocide, and conflict have raged in this country dominated by ethnic struggle for decades. But beyond the headlines there are powerful stories of unexpected heroes like Burmese punk rocker Kyaw Thu Win or Kyaw Kyaw (pronounced Joe Joe).
Based out of Yangon, Kyaw Kyaw fronts a punk rock band called The Rebel Riot. But when he’s not performing under a bridge with rented instruments he and his band are working hard to help street kids through food distributions and education/reading projects. He and his punk rock friends run the local chapter of Food not Bombs in their effort to do something about the people caught in the cracks of global conflict. What starts as an “off the beaten path” glimpse of the city of Yangon on the colonial era circular train turns into an exciting romp around one of the most interesting cities in the world.
Craig and Earl tag along with Kyaw Kyaw and crew for a slice of life experience from tea-houses, and DIY screen printing co-ops, to Pirate Bars and Punk Shops. Only to see that the punks of Yangon find real meaning in helping communities in need. Do-gooders get a first-hand look at The Rebel Riot’s philanthropic work from downtown Yangon to semi-legal villages on the outskirts of the city only reachable by ferry. Craig and Earl also reconnect with an old friend and Burmese refugee Hnin Hnin Pyne. Her unique perspective on the city and love of fish soup provides just the insight they need.
Kyaw Kyaw and his bandmates cap off the episode by treating Craig, Earl and the crew to a world of beauty, wonder and Buddhist history at the Golden Rock Temple hours outside of Yangon. The highlight is a pagoda built on a rock that seemingly hovers at the edge of a cliff hanging atop the Kyaiktiyo Hill in Mon State.
Thursday, June 5 at 10:30pm
Bangkok, Thailand: The Big House…of Blessing
The Good Road returns to Craig and Earl’s hometown of Bangkok and end up in the 2nd largest maximum-security prison in all of Thailand. Luckily, it’s by invitation. They receive a rare tour of the grounds as well as the cells before speaking to a Thai prisoner about what daily life is like in a Thai prison. Afterwards, they discover, amongst other things, a unique approach to vocational training and pre-release development at the prison.
Access to Klong Prem prison is limited, especially for video crews from the West. But, Craig’s dad, Jack Martin, worked in Thai prisons for decades. He started a prison ministry that helped prepare prisoners for life after prison. The program helped Jack establish friendships that would pay off for generations. Craig and Earl connect with Jack’s mentee, Acharn Soonthorn, who has furthered the work and expanded the program – even inspiring prison officials to create similar, but secular, programs of their own.
After reconnecting, Mr. Soonthorn takes Craig and Earl on a tour of the organization he helped to create around the prison ministry, the House of Blessing. It is a transitional facility that Soonthorn directs that helps recently released prisoners and the families of prisoners as they deal with the many problems and stages of incarceration in Thailand. The facility also supports ex-prisoners as they cope with the difference between life inside and outside of prison. House of Blessing provides education, childcare and continued vocational programs for those prisoners and ex-prisoners who most need it.
Viewers will hear the redemptive stories of ex-convicts often ignored or rejected in Thai society because of their criminal past. This episode explores the benefits of a unique partnership between the primarily Buddhist bureaucrats of the Thai government and the Christian ministry started by Craig’s father.