The film I shot in Kenya mid-last year has finally been launched!
Walking Together aims to illustrate the stories of both traditional and skilled (trained) birth attendants working in semi-nomadic Maasai and Samburu communities in central Kenya. The Kenyan government wants all pregnant women to have access to modern health care and is rolling out clinics and hospitals in rural and remote parts of the country. The statistics on mother and child mortality in Kenya are shocking so this is a hugely important task.
One of my favourite moments in this film is where Ndukunya, an elderly Maasai TBA (traditional birth attendant) describes her community, Tiamamut. Ndukunya lives on a dry, windswept hilltop in a hut surrounded by an acacia thorn fence to keep the elephants out at night. She cares for several grandchildren, has to walk kilometres to fetch water every day, and when called upon, helps women give birth with no formal training and no equipment other than a pair of latex gloves (a recent innovation). Despite these apparent privations, Ndukunya can't see any reason she'd want to live anywhere else: "I cannot say that life here is difficult – there is nothing that we want that is not here. It's the place God gave us." I'm not sure that contentment is quite the right word, but whatever feeling she's expressing, it's hard to come by, even for us who have so much.
The film is intended as an advocacy tool and as feedback for the communities who took part in the University of Melbourne research project that's behind it. It was distributed in Kenya with Swahili voice over narration - this version has English VO (some of you might recognise the voice 'talent'). I'm told Kenya's First Lady was in attendance when it premiered in Nairobi – it's great to hear that people with the ability to affect change are seeing my stuff.
If you're interested in learning more, here's a great piece highlighting the importance of this project.
If you want to support the work being done on the ground, here's a link to Anglican Overseas Aid.