Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Meru Crew

Over the past month, we have thrown ourselves headlong into making a film about Kenya's street children and their addiction to glue. It is a unwieldy beast of a problem that emotionally crushes and intellectually boggles anyone who stops to look at it. We're following the kids around, capturing their stories, seeing where they sleep, what they eat, and how they survive. We're ferreting out common root causes- abuse or no food at home, parents lost to AIDS, always poverty. We're examining the miserably incomplete patchwork of solutions- orphanages with limited capacity, brutal police round-ups, and mishandled foreign relief money. Meanwhile, the children drift around town all day and night, glue bottles literally stuck to their lips, calling out to a community that looks the other way, hushed by apathy, and a government so aloof that one might suspect a dark plan to just let these kids die off.
Clockwise from top left:
Musyoka: our best friend in Kenya, sidekick, translator, comic relief.
Austin: at this moment feeling generally exhausted.
Anneliese: just took the kids shopping for a lunch of bread and yogurt.
Veronica: 12, an incredibly tough and emotionally battered child who has survived the Meru streets for the past 5 years.
Tony: 10, brother of Veronica, baby-faced, usually quiet, holds my hand everywhere we go.
Gatao: 11, lies and says 14. Has the demeanor of a war veteran. Pictured here a few days before his involuntary haircut by razor.

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