The National Catholic Review

The timing of the conversation surrounding the Holy Father's comments on the prevention of HIV/AIDS was not only important, but, as it turned out, very timely: Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day.  Another contribution to the discussion is a superb new film called "Into the Light," about an Tanzanian AIDS worker and sociologist named Mama Lyimo (Mama is an entirely polite Swahili honorific for an adult woman).  Glenn, an independent filmmaker, spent several years following Lyimo and her patients as they both battled the disease.  The film's website notes: "Frustrated that millions of dollars and work hours had amounted to few successes in the fight against AIDS, Lyimo called Peter to task. 'The problem is we’re always fighting AIDS from the top down.  We need to go to talk with people at the grassroots and make a documentary about what they think needs to be done most to fight AIDS.  The only way we are going to find new solutions is by understanding the lives of those affected by the disease.'"  Indeed, the great virtue of Glenn's beautiful film is that it gives voice to the voiceless, allowing victims in the developing world to talk about their own experiences.  Probably I'm biased since I worked in East Africa for several years, and heard similar sad stories told in soft-spoken Swahili, but I found "Into the Light" deeply moving, one of the best films I've ever seen about how the poor cope with illness and hardship.  Perhaps it will help a little in the fight to understand how this scourge destroys lives, and might strengthen our resolve to fight this disease, particularly in areas hardest hit.  The trailer is above; a longer clip which includes an interview with one of Mama Lyimo's clients, named Suzy, is below.

 

Comments

Anonymous | 11/29/2010 - 1:09pm
We had a discussion a couple weeks ago whether visual things might be more persuasive then just reasoned written arguments.  This video is the answer as one who sees it will be more likely to be conscious of the problem.  And as the post by Dr. Van Ornum just above indicates, visiting a charity will do more than asking for donations in actually generating financial support.


As an illustration at Mass a couple weeks ago a local priest who has been traveling the world and the country asking for donations for individuals in various countries who are poor.  Each has a name and you do not give to the charity but to the actual individual through the charity.  So I perused all the stories and picked up one from a little kid in Kenya.  So for the next year, some of the money that was going to go to my Christian Brother and Jesuit alma maters is now headed to this kid in Africa.  At least I hope it is and have not been conned by the priest at Mass.  What sealed it for me was personal photos he had of the three kids he supports when he visited them in Honduras.


So visual stimuli work really well.  Visiting the places will work even better but that is hard to do.