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Sons of Lwala
The Story of Sons of Lwala
TPAC is hosting the first public showing of Barry Simmons’ film about the remarkable journey of Milton Ochieng’ and his brother Fred, who were born in a village in Kenya called Lwala. The documentary follows the young men as they travel between Africa and America, determined to fulfill their father’s dream to build a health clinic for their beloved people. The scenes, filmed in Kenya against the backdrop of breathtaking scenic beauty, are especially powerful as the documentary reveals the joys and sorrows of life in Lwala. It portrays the nobility and courage of the people and illustrates an understanding of community unknown to most Americans. Medical students at Vanderbilt University, Milton and Fred are graduates of Dartmouth College. They were the first to leave the village (where their parents were school teachers) to study in the United States, with support from their community of about 1500 people. Sons of Lwala captures their engaging personalities, passion and commitment as Milton and Fred persevere to honor their father’s memory and serve their people. The hopeful film recounts their journey and tracks the growth of a movement that has attracted the support of Americans nationwide from school children to celebrities, from professors to politicians. The title reflects how Milton has always referred to himself, even before his parents’ death. In Lwala, Milton says, “You’re not just the son of your parents. Here, you belong to everyone.” Ticket and sponsorship proceeds benefit the clinic (with the potential to fund more than a year of operation).
Producer Barry Simmons was introduced to Milton Ochieng’ by a friend when he was a television reporter with WTVF-Channel 5 in Nashville. In addition to receiving eight regional Emmy Awards and two Edward R. Murrow Awards, he was twice-named “Best Writer in Tennessee” by the Associated Press. When Barry traveled to Lwala with Milton for a story in 2005, the experience was life-changing. He left the television station to begin work on Sons of Lwala as a fellow with the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University-School of Advanced International Studies, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He was recently awarded a fellowship from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
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