Here’s mom’s account of the ALLY fundraising screening on July 7th at a bar in Moshi called The Watering Hole.
Mom and I agreed that funds raised at this screening would help cover construction costs of a girls’ dormitory at the Vunjo Secondary School in our village of Mwika. (More on Vunjo in upcoming posts…)
fyi, Dalton is Aunty Awonyisa’s youngest son who’s now a respected pastor with his own ministry. His response to hearing his mother’s stories has inspired him to do what he can to use the pulpit to promote the rights of women and girls. The power of the church in TZ to transform cultural norms is not to be underestimated…
Here’s to ALLY continuing to do its work in the world…
The show started promptly at 8:00 p.m. The place was packed. More chairs had to be brought out from the bar. Considering this is vacation time with many people away, the bar manager was stunned at the turn out.
It didn’t take long for folks to become totally engrossed in the film. After the screening, the reactions were much like those in the U.S. People were so moved. From my friends, the hugs they gave me were extra long. A Finnish lady said she was in tears while watching the movie as she wiped away a few more. A German lad stood by patiently for his chance to get in a word. He just arrived yesterday and what a treat it was for him to have seen the film.
The manager also relayed to me how the reaction of the audience was one and the same. They loved the film and many wanted to know if the DVD was on sale. They wanted to share this experience with others. So many people inquired about DVD that the manager said she would be happy to sell them and give the entire proceeds to Vunjo School without creaming off profit from it.
By the way, we raised 500,000/- (just a little over $300) for Vunjo from the event. It’s a modest amount but we take it a step at a time.
Dalton took everything in stride with his calm, practised demeanour of a pastor. But today, as we looked back and reflected, he admitted it was a shock for him to hear from his own mother’s mouth what he had heard from many women — the agony of being forced into marriage with the man who raped her. After having seen the film, he can personally identify with the deep hurt of his mother and unfruitful marriage, her simmering anger for having been denied further education. He is determined to make his ministry totally committed to promoting women’s rights, women’s right to choose whom they would marry and woman’s right not to remain in abusive marriage.
The reactions were the same whether the viewer was Tanzanian or an expatriate. One young Tanzanian man declared that he hadn’t been sure whether he would return to live in Tanzania, but having seen the film, he definitely will do so.
As in the U.S., the film is stimulating an awakening and self-discovery in people that is simply amazing.