Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here is a real film about poverty

A pair of brothers from the St. Louis area not only filmed a movie about African poverty, they lived just like their subject matter.

Tim and David Peterka lived on a $1.25 a day while filming a movie about extreme poverty in Africa. They ate little, drank little, and even got sick with malaria. To top it all off, the pair was involved in a plane crash when they arrived in Africa.

From St. Louis' Suburban Journals, writer Mary Shapiro relays to us what the Peterka brothers experienced.

"There are tons of documentaries that show poverty, but the guys filming them eat in restaurants and sleep in hotels. To be more credible, we wanted to get a hint of what it was really like to have the insecurity of poverty," said Tim, 30.

The project, conceived by Dan Parris of south St. Louis, was meant to highlight extreme poverty globally and show how it could be addressed. The idea was for Parris, the Peterka brothers and Ron Lehr of Ballwin to live for two months on $1.25 per day in Africa, which they saw as one of the most impoverished places in the world.


Going to Kenya, the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and the Sudan, the brothers learned how small sums of money can make a big difference in eliminating poverty's root causes.

"We had so much stress, constantly traveling and not eating or drinking well," Tim said.

David recalled one meal of mashed greens in Sudan.

"It looked like a green, gooey, stringey, boogery mess, but tasted good," he said.

They had experiences beyond the ken of sheltered Americans.

"We ate goat and other meat we slaughtered ourselves," Tim said.

He also contracted malaria and lost more than 20 pounds from his already lanky frame.

"I'm still trying to gain it back. We ate everything we were told not to. We expected to get sick," said Tim, an aerial photographer.

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