Wednesday, April 13, 2011
“Finding hope for a lost generation”
By: Lucy Coutinho
The sound of clapping, joy and African rhythm crammed the air at BloomBars Indie Film Night in Washington DC (Columbia Heights Metro) on Tuesday, March 22nd. Lights dimmed, the chants from the crowd continued as Delali Dagadu of DC Dance Collective displayed her West African dance routine. The crowd remained in awe anticipating what would be more to come.
The lights came back up and shined over every face in the crowd, adding not only a harmonious look but a feel of unity. The show opened up with the breathtakingly beautiful host, April Jones of The April Jones Show. Finally the introduction everyone had been waiting for, the film screening of Nyumbani Village by DC filmmaker Nihal Dhillon.
The documentary on Nyumbani Village, directed and produced by Dhillon, shines the light on a 1,000 acre self-sustaining community in rural Kenya. The land was given by Kenya government providing hope for the 1.3 million Kenyan children who have been orphaned due to the AIDS pandemic. Bridging the gap in generation, the village provides a family-like setting for orphaned children under the care of grandparents, and counselors/volunteers. The project began as just a vision in 2004 recruiting orphans from slums, today serves as a model of sustainable support for communities affected by the AIDS crisis.
Nyumbani meaning ‘home’ in Swahili was where Nihal Dhillon was able to find just that where she spent two weeks in 2010 in light of this project. For the duration of her journey, nothing else mattered and that she was able to focus on making a difference in the lives of others. With no electricity and relying on solar power, she still described it as the most amazing time where she could ‘shine light in the darkest places’. "Looking back I realize, this project was the sum of all the experiences I explored in the past now coming together to make a difference in the world. Film making has been my way to use my creativity to bring awareness to hidden issues, engender change, and by doing so also encourage others to follow their dreams," assures Dhillon.
The lights are back on at BloomBars, more clapping followed after taking the journey inside the life of Nyambani Village. The emotions thickened, clapping radiated the small space and the burning questions were soon to commence. Now, for question and answer session with Nihal Dhillon; the crowd was curious, elated, and proud of the information presented to them. “The documentary itself was very informative. It allowed me to see how small my struggle here in America is in comparison to other parts of the world. It ignited a drive in me to keep on fighting,” expressed a guest.
The evening ended as a line formed, many wanted to be introduced to the inspiration behind this project; smiles were exchanged followed by warm embraces.