Joan K. Duckhorn
Film Reaction, Report #1
“Africa: Savannah’s Homecoming”
The National Geographic film, “Africa: Savannah’s Homecoming”, reveals the grandeur and the splendid beauty of the massive green and productive open plains of Eastern Africa’s, Savannah. Words cannot describe the mysterious and magnificent sight of one of the world’s greatest animal migrations, whichtakes place on the fringes of the Serengeti. Every year, two million wild animals make the instinctive round trip across the vast land, totaling a crossing of over 2000 miles. The influence of the land runs deep into the hearts and souls of the African people who live there as well. The women especially possess a strong loyalty and devotion to their indigenous and distinctive roots. Many sensethe need, even urgency to raise their children within their own individual culture with its particular customs and beliefs. Similar to the values of women here in the United States and numerous other lands across the globe as well, the two women portrayed in the film, Alice and Flora, long to return to their native homelands. Although currently living in very different cultural settings, withcompletely opposite ethnic and environmental backgrounds, both of the women feel the pull to return to their roots.
In contrast, Alice is a young, pregnant single mother of an eight year old son, named Scott. Flora, however, is married and has three young children. Alice is currently residing in the modern city of Nairobi (the capital of Kenya), where she supports herself and her child with herown beauty salon business, located in the center of town. Alice and Scott enjoy the comforts of city life, such as a nice apartment with running water and electricity, entertainment like television and an abundance of toys, public transportation, and good medical facilities. Flora, on the other hand, now lives in the remote land of Kinjungo with her Dorobo husband, Loshero who is a primitivehunter and gatherer. He is gone from home gathering food for his family for four months at a time, leaving Flora alone to care for the needs of her the children. Instead of playing like normal children do, the children of Kingungo must also learn how to hunt and gather in order to help sustain their family lives. For Flora, as a wife and mother, life is difficult here because of the hardships, wherethe people depend solely upon the land for their survival. Unfortunately, there are also no modern conveniences to enjoy and appreciate, as there are in city of Nairobi. The inhabitants here live in simple, basic huts that they must make themselves with straw and mud, without amenities such as electricity or running water. The only mode of transportation is walking by foot and it usually takesFlora a minimum of forty minutes just to get the necessary supply of daily water for her family. She feels that this is an extremely unbearable existence for her and for her family, but she does her best to cope without the aid of the luxuries and comforts of a more urban lifestyle.
Comparatively, both of the women show a discontent with the living situations they find themselves in. Each isinfluenced by her upbringing and longs to return to her homeland. Alice is compelled to return to her spiritual Kikuyu roots of Nyeri, which is a more remote area where the people depend largely upon the land for their survival. She insists upon giving birth there, as she did with her first born, Scott. As a mother, Alice believes it is her duty to teach them her culture and by going back to theland, she says, they will become “real Kikuyu” with the traditional ways. It is also her belief that only by returning to the land can you truly understand your history. And, of course, she knows, that although they appreciate all of the comforts of Nairobi now, the sacrifices they will make by temporarily leaving, will ultimately benefit her children more. Alice and Scott begin their journey...