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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Seeing Ruth again

I went to see Ruth yesterday. She is the girl in the movie who was Kimani's main rival. It is just amazing to see how she's transformed. HBEF arranged to have her transferred to one of Kenya's best secondary schools. In fact, it is the school that Jane Wanjiru (Chris' cousin) went to. She said the school is much harder than her previous school. Her favorite subject is history, and she has transformed from an incredibly shy primary student to a glowing young woman. She asked if I could get her an English dictionary - which I'm off to buy today. But her English seems pretty fluent to me.

Then it was off to lunch at the Agip Café, which was our lunch spot of choice during the filming. Actually, it was one of the only choices. The place is awesome, they have a decent menu and are (always) out of everything except cabbage and rice. Yesterday they were out of rice, but did have beef stew - so I guess I was lucky.

The next stop was Kimani's mother's house. It hasn't changed a bit, but there are a few more little kids running around. Kimani's mom seems to be in good health, which is a relief. There are some pretty intimate things about their family in the movie, including a scene at the doctor's, which is a very private matter in Kenya. I wanted to prepare her for that, but she told me I worry too much! I really do wonder how the families are going to react to the film. I'll know pretty soon.

In other news, we've (sadly) ditched the "feed bag movie screen" idea and switched to sewing together some bed sheets. It is rainy season and we're all worried that the paint won't dry on such a big surface.

Here's some photos of Ruth and the Agip Café. (Agip is a gas station by the

Photos: Jennifer and Ruth, Ruth at school, Agip Café.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Prepping for the big screening

It's the second day in Kenya, and I was off to visit Kimani. He's been
transferred to a great secondary school called Corner Brook, which is owned
by one of the HBEF board members. He looks the same! A little bigger, but
he's definitely the same sweet kid (actually a full on teenager now). It was a
Saturday at an all boys school. Everyone was hanging out in the cafeteria,
blasting Jay-Z and Lil' Wayne. Kimani says the kids are nice, but (and I
quote) "sometimes it can be very distracting to be a teenager." He still has
a way with words.

The next stop was the village, which hasn't changed at all. I'm putting
together a village screening of the film. We found the "theatre."

Gathirimu Girls School has donated their school hall for the event. Pink Roses Academy
has donated a video projector. And the best part is the coordinator from
HBEF is going to donate all of his used, empty feed bags. We're going to
have them sewn together and painted white to make a big screen. Excellent!

Kimani at Corner Brook

Gathirimu Girls School Hall

Baba Bernard - HBEF Coordinator
Ndichu - former HBEF beneficiary
Kariuki - Driver
With feed bag (soon to be movie screen)

A closer look at the future screen

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Going back to Kenya

I'm in Heathrow airport on the way to Kenya. I'm going to rent a church or
school hall, black out the windows, rent a projector and show the movie to
everyone who participated. It will be the village's first movie premiere!
I'm especially excited to show the kids who we filmed. I can't believe it
has been over two years since we finished shooting. I really hope they like
the film...

Jennifer Arnold, director "A Small Act"