Tonight I finally went to the Vancouver International Film Festival for the first time, just as it was winding down. (Thanks Ann for the free passes!)
We saw 2 serious flicks that leave you with reeling thoughts (no pun intended!).
Their Brothers’ Keepers: Orphaned by Aids chronicled the plight of families in Africa affected by the AIDS epidemic which is wiping out the whole middle generation, leaving young children to fend for themselves, sometimes with or without the help of the surviving grandparents.
The film interspersed excerpts from an address by Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa with portraits of several child-led families to illustrate Lewis’ comments.
Indeed it was sad to see the extremely poor conditions of these young orphaned children, yet the film still managed to end on a note of hope. The few examples they provided ended up receiving help and having some sort of happier ending. Amazing how “feel good” endings appeal to something deep within the human heart.
But it was sad to consider the millions of other children not receiving the help they need. One area coordinator for a non-profit compassion organization visited one of the child-led families but did not have the resources to help him other than a visit. It makes you want to just drop everything here and go there to offer some kind of direct help.
One thing that really struck me, more as a sideline in the film, was how communal and collective the African culture is. There was one orphaned family of kids that were about 2 days travel away from the village where their grandmother lived. They wanted to go visit her and see if they could move there to be with her. The way this came to eventually be was a village council meeting which decided on behalf of the kids if they could go. Once they arrived at their grandmother’s village, again the village council decided if the children could move in.
We are so individualistic in our culture here in North America. I was already feeling this from my Vietnam trip as I observed the communal and interdependent life of the locals there.
And so I continue to unlearn my independent ways in order to make way for a more interdependent way, even while watching a world-issue flick at the Film Fest.