Africa: Hope Dies Last - Trailer
Rwanda, Uganda, Congo – African countries of incredible beauty and incredible turmoil and poverty.
Years of brutal tribal conflict, ethnic genocide and civil war continue.
Natural and man-made disasters have added to the heavy burden these people must endure.
Once teeming with magnificent herds of wildlife, armed guards try to protect what little remains.
But poachers continue in a desperate search for food and a few dollars.
The rapidly increasing population threatens the environment.
The great African forests and jungles are disappearing.
Forests are clear-cut and replaced by terraced hillsides where subsistence farmers toil away, trying to grow food for their families. Their efforts are not enough and hunger is a common reality - international donor fatigue is setting in.
Armed bands prey on the local population – making hopes for peace and security an illusive dream.
Despite overwhelming obstacles, Albert works to save the environment.
With over 180,000 homeless orphans in the region, Marie struggles to create a home and a future for 11 of these children.
Hope is all they really have.
Will hope die last?
AFRICA: Hope Dies Last - Notes from the producer
In early 1973 I was reading a slightly dated National Geographic. I came across an article on Dian Fossey’s work with gorillas in the highland jungle where Uganda, Rwanda and Congo come together. I was intrigued. I decided to visit her to see her work in person during my summer school break.
I did visit this beautiful region of Africa that summer – but Dian Fossey couldn’t be bothered with having another American visitor – I couldn’t get past her guards to actually talk with her. So I hired a local guide, Ngarama, and after two days trekking through the mountains of the mist, I did see gorillas in their natural habitat. It was a memorable experience.
In late 2002, I returned to this region with my wife Olga, a photojournalist, to see to changes brought by these past 29 years.
Immediately on arriving in Uganda, we set out in our Land rover toward the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home of one group of wild gorillas. By the end of the first day I was in shock. The great forests of Central Africa are virtually gone – not just thinned out – but gone - almost everywhere except the few parks where they are protected. Terraced agriculture has replaced the hilltop forests. With the forests went the wildlife. Fuel and food are the basic realities of life for a hungry, desperate people. How can you blame them?
As hard as it is to believe, the Congolese people I met in 2002 are, for the most part, worse off than they were under Mobutu’s shameful rule in 1973.
Even under the current conditions, we did meet some remarkable African men and women.
Unfortunately, because of donor fatigue and the sense that Africa's problems are intractable, there is little interest in this story.