US title: 'Surviving Hunger'
CNN International: Feb 04
Channel Four (UK): Feb 04
Discovery/Times (US): Feb 04
Interview with Sorious Samura
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"This is the most disturbing and worthwhile
programme of the week…"
"A simple but extraordinarily powerful documentary"
"..depicts everyday life – and still it shocks…"
"..truly eye-opening film…"
"A low-key but devastating documentary…"
About 'Surviving Hunger'
In an unprecedented mission, Sorious Samura set out to understand the
real stories of people living on the edge of starvation. He moved into
a remote village in Ethiopia far away from the range of the UN and most
NGO's. Between August and September Sorious lived in a hut and survived
on the same meagre diet as the rest of the villagers.
As he arrived in the village Sorious got an unpleasant surprise. The
villagers made it clear he was not welcome. 'They think you are the
Devil' he is told. In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition the devil indeed
is usually depicted as a very black being, blacker than most villagers.
It takes Sorious much persuasion to convince the villagers that he will
not eat their babies and hasn't come to rape their wives.
Very soon Sorious settles into the routine of the village. He is amazed
and exhausted by the hard work he must do to keep up with the villagers
as they climb steep slopes to plough and till their fields every day.
Despite the weather failing them on so many previous occasions the
villagers always have hope that their next harvest will bring the food
they so desperately need.
There is food aid, but never enough. Sorious is living with a family
where the meagre supplies supposed to last for two months have run out
in two weeks. Now Mum and Dad, five children and Sorious must survive
on a local weed called wild cabbage. A grown man would need to eat a
room full of wild cabbage to satisfy a day's nutritional requirement,
but the plant, even though it makes the villagers sick, fills stomachs
and at least gives the sense of food.
Sorious has made friends with the deacons. Young boys who receive
religious education but must beg for their school fees and for the food
that they eat. Together they travel to other remote villages and
eventually to the town of Lalibela to beg or to find work if they can.
It is an awful journey, which brings us painfully close to the real
lives of the poor.
Away from the headline making famine, award-winning filmmaker Sorious
Samura discovers that the daily reality for more than 40 million
Africans is a diet ranging from nothing to a handful of weeds. In his
unique style of filmmaking he questions how we can expect Africa to
develop when so many Africans are engaged in a daily struggle to
'Living with Hunger' (Surviving Hunger) is
an Insight News Television Production for Discovery/Times in
association with CNNI, Channel Four (UK), CBC and 2 Vandaag.