Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rent "The Boys of Baraka"

Last night my family and I watched a PBS documentary called The Boys of Baraka, which follows some boys from Baltimore's inner city to a school in Kenya for one year. The program is designed to prepare 20 middle schoolers to apply for and get into better public high schools and help them escape the cycles of poverty and crime that are rampant in their neighborhoods.

For Diane, it was the perfect movie, combining her life in Glenwood and her African roots, and there was so much familiar to her about both settings. It was amazing how similar the things that the boys said and how they responded to life were to what I hear from kids in Glenwood. Of course our neighborhood is nowhere near those parts of Baltimore in terms of violence and poverty, but the influences of hopelessness, seeing only a small portion of the world, lack of educational opportunities, and absentee parents (fathers and mothers in jail, out of the picture) are eerily familiar.

It's only 84 minutes long and they leave you wanting more of the story. While seeing the situations (and final destinations) of some of these boys is hard to watch, there are also moments of hope and lots of laughter watching these boys finally get to truly be kids as they play in their African home.

Not sure if you can just roll up to Blockbuster and rent this, but it available on Netflix and Blockbuster Online. (Side note: If you are not a member of either, I would suggest the Blockbuster $9.99 a month plan - movies are still mailed to you, and you get the option of taking them back and exchanging them for another movie in the store while you wait for your next mailer, and the movies get to you just as quickly as Netflix. To me it's a no-brainer about choosing Blockbuster over Netflix. We can get 8 movies a months for $10, and could get even more than that if we had time to watch them. OK, commercial over.)

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