Heart of the Congo
A Documentary Film

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50 words: Amid threats of violence, corruption, and a legacy of colonial dependency aid workers help refugees who have lost everything.  They seek to strengthen villagers’ will, essential for a self-sufficient future. Heart of the Congo is a film about courage, perseverance and ways in which humanitarian aid makes a lasting difference.

150 words: In the Heart of the Congo, at the end of a war, a handful of aid workers try to help refugees who have lost everything.  European and Congolese staff train heath workers, mobilize villagers to dig wells for clean water, and nurse children with acute malnutrition back to health. Beyond emergency measures, the aid workers struggle to promote and encourage the will and actions needed for a self-sufficient future. They face violence from roving militia bands, systemic corruption, and a legacy of colonial dependency.  The entire operation is threatened when health centers are pillaged and health workers are held hostage for ransom. When the filmmaker comes down with malaria, two aid workers pick up his camera and continue to skillfully document their work. Heart of the Congo is a film about courage, hope, perseverance and ways in which humanitarian aid can make a lasting difference.

250 words: In the Heart of the Congo, at the end of five years of civil war and 300 miles from the nearest paved road, a handful of  aid workers help refugees who have lost everything.  Filmmaker Tom Weidlinger lives amongst them and tells their story  as they train Congolese staff to run health clinics, mobilize villagers to dig wells for clean water and nurse children suffering from acute malnutrition.

War changes people’s sense of time. Survival has become a day-by-day proposition.  It makes no sense to plan for tomorrow when everything can so easily be taken away.  Yet thinking ahead, planting seeds for the future, is the path out of misery.  Beyond ministering to immediate hunger and disease, the European and Congolese aid workers struggle to nurture villagers’ collective will and courage to build a self-sufficient future.

Threats of violence from roving militia bands, systemic corruption, and the legacy of colonial dependency are daily obstacles.  When Weidlinger comes down with malaria, two aid workers pick up the camera and continue to skillfully document their work.  The film goes on even as the entire aid operation is threatened by a return of violence, with civilians inevitably caught in the middle.  A village is burned, three health centers are pillaged, and health workers are taken hostage, but the heroes of this film, both Congolese and European, go on.  Heart of the Congo is a film about courage, hope, perseverance and ways in which humanitarian aid can make a lasting difference.

Action Against Hunger is the NGO (non-governmental organization) profiled in the film. (see our AAH page for more background)


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