Vanguard senior and accomplished marathon runner, Daniel Okabe has a story of inspiration, urgency, and a steadfast love for God. Okabe’s journey from his home of Mbale, Uganda has brought him to Vanguard University in a race against time.
Okabe’s journey to the U.S. came after the Ugandan Communications Commission instituted new regulations that threatened the future of his family’s Christian radio station, Faith Radio.
Because of the recent regulations, Ugandan radio stations are required to be run by university-trained personnel or risk being shut down.
Pushed by the need to save his father’s radio station along with his family’s orphanage, Okabe is under great pressure to obtain the bachelors degree required by the Uganda Communications Commission to save his family’s livelihood. He is running and studying for the future of an entire community.
This intrigued independent Filmmaker Michael Zynda who followed Okabe over a six-month period in 2011, filming everything from Okabe’s comedic experiences acclimating to American life to training for the prestigious 2011 Boston marathon.
Zynda’s documentary appropriately titled In a Race Against Time, also features Okabe’s dramatic quest to raise the money for his tuition at Vanguard University where he is currently in his last semester studying communication.
Zynda’s verité film style allows the audience to experience the power of Okabe’s story. He states, “The real heart of the picture comes through its portrayal of the myriad of social issues that people face in other parts of the world like Uganda such as poverty, HIV/Aids, and violence. Once you see all of the noble work and humanitarian efforts of Daniel’s family in their village, you automatically begin rooting for their cause.”
Zynda continues adding, “I think Daniel’s story exists as a commentary on the fundamental goodness of humanity which we can all relate to.”
Daniel Okabe will graduate from Vanguard University in December 2013 and plans to return home to his native Uganda after he walks in May 2013. Okabe’s goals to evangelize to his people are paramount as he comments, “I want to see that our radio station grows so that we can reach more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
When asked what motivates him, Okabe replied, “Prayer. I need God to guide me everyday and give me strength. Without God in my daily life, it seems impossible to get through on my own.”
In a Race Against Time debuted on PBS in May 2013, and is available now for stream or download on Amazon.com.