Thanks For The Rain was the opening film of the new Story Ya Wengi Environmental Film Festival 2017 at the Michael Joseph Centre on July 26, 2017.
There’s a new film festival in town called Stori Ya Wengi which, for the four none Kiswahili speakers of this blog, is slang for “The Story of Many”. The new festival, which focuses on productions that have the environment at the centre of their narratives, made its official debut with new film Thank You For The Rain.
Thank You For The Rain is a reality TV type movie that follows the exploits of Kisilu Musya, a farmer in Mutomo, Kibwezi and his battles with the effects of climate change in his life, his family, his livelihood and his community. It all starts for him when his house is destroyed by a storm leading to him starting a communal farmers’ movement and logically to a call for action against the extreme consequences of the weather. Think of a modern day Wangari Maathai only with less education and money but the same drive for his environment.
It takes the best techniques of Keeping Up With the Kardashians as you see the man and his family doing the inane things made famous by the American socialites like waking up, sleeping, going shopping and living their lives. This production is less vacuous however as there is little dialogue like Kim Kardashian’s, “Stretch marks are my biggest fear of life.” Or this other of her gems, “I hate it when women wear the wrong foundation colour. It might be the worst thing on the planet when they wear their makeup too light.” What you see instead is an African farmer fighting hard to help his community to ensure that they plant trees in spite of it being with no immediate financial benefit.
You follow Kisilu as he forms groups with his neighbours to plant trees which are hard to with zero money but he persists. This is in spite of the fact that he has a family at home and he needs to work on the farm to ensure that his kids get food for their bellies. His wife is not happy with what he is doing as they are struggling and he is always off to do his tree planting and she wonders how they will survive.
The pig headed man will would continue with his battle for his environment eventually ending up in Oslo and the high circles of COP21 in Paris where the battle must be engaged for the earth. It is a must watch movie and those who missed it want to check out its official opening in September. Check out the trailer below.
With the movie having ended there was an address by Kisilu Musya the farmer himself followed by a Q&A and as you can expect the question were your typical to a Kenyan audience;
Q: Were you supported by the Kenyan authorities only after the white people liked your work? A: No.
Q: Are you doing this only in Ukambani or spreading it around the country? A: Yes it is spreading.
Q: You are involving students, how are you ensuring that they are not going stop taking part because there is no money? A: They are bigger beneficiaries of this project that us so they should be the ones invested.
You can see the whole video of the address and Q&A below.