Blantyre and Mulanje
After 5 and half weeks of travelling and screening around rural Malawi, we finally hit the metropolis of Blantyre, which, despite being the country’s business district, still seems calm, clean and friendly.
A very passionate representative from local NGO, SRGDI (Sustainable Rural Growth Development Initiative), took us 20km out of the city to Chikuli trading centre for an evening screening with an enthusiastic audience who really got into debating the issues of Mbeu Yosintha.
The next day, we travelled 40km south to Nkando trading centre, 20km from Mulanje, the epic mount Mulanje shimmering through the heat haze. Our friendly rep from REFORD took us on a tour into town, past vast tea plantations and onto the lower slopes of the lush, green mountain.
We had a great double-bill that evening of both Mawa Langa and Mbeu Yosintha, with insightful discussions from the area’s younger members, who excitedly cheered each other on.
And then we came back to Blantyre and arrived at the big four-oh! Our final screening was at Blantyre Secondary School with MANAD. It was unique to all the previous 39, the audience being made up of deaf members of the community. It was pretty amazing to see them engaging with Mawa Langa and then discuss the characters and issues in great detail – one aspiring filmmaker even pointed out the storyboarding and directing tips he’d picked up – another first for the Kugawana festival.
And that pretty much sums up our experience over the past 6 weeks. We have shown PFP’s fantastic, educational dramas across the length and breadth of Malawi – and every single screening and audience has been memorable and special in its own way. From the reactions to the comments; from the venues to the ever-changing beauty of the country – it has been one special journey.
We have had recent updates on distribution of three of our films in the last couple of weeks.
Firstly, the showings of the film done for CPA (Cerebral Palsy Africa) in Ghana has exceeded expectations. When Celia Stubbs went to Ghana, she worked with Joseph Sampong to show the film in a number of places. Since then, he has continued the work, showing the film to over 1,000 physiotherapists, students, nurses and healthcare professionals and having feedback and discussion sessions with them following the film.
In Rwanda, the people who have seen “Change with the Climate” were interested both in the organic pesticides and the best ways planting bamboo. The partner, ARCOS Network, have put the film on their website and on Youtube and have also sent it to associated NGOs and charities across Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.
And in Malawi the films “Farming Our Wealth” have been shown to between 1,800 and 1,900 people in the villages and areas where our partner, Total Landcare, works. The responses have been very favourable and we are looking for further ways of having these shown in areas where the information is needed.
We have received the first reports from Philbert Nsengiyumva on distribution of “Change with the Climate” in Rwanda. He and the team spent 3 days in Rutsiro in the west part of Rwanda and about 500 people watched the film in that time. Philbert writes, “The local people liked the film, and they like the activities in the film from organic farming, a very new practice to them, to agroforestry which is normally done in that area. They especially liked very much the use of organic pesticides, and they wanted to learn how they can use it in their farms. People more interested would come back and take notes!!”
We are really excited that the local farmers are grabbing hold of these ideas and tips to use in their own situations. In the photo Philbert is with a number of farmers who are writing down the recipes for recreating some of the organic pesticides.