Shooting a Documentary Film About a Boy Named Patrick

Patrick and other street children in RDDC's dance class

Kigali, Rwanda

February 3, 2013

Ssali Joseph Eugene

In December 2011, RDDC officially established its partnership with FIDESCO, the organization that helps former street kids in Rwanda.  Now, the organizations are celebrating more than one year of successful collaboration.

In the first week of December, specifically on the 7th, RDDC celebrated its one year of partnership with FIDESCO and recognized the biggest achievements accomplished to date: five former street kids are in full-time boarding school now; the IT program is running with multiple laptops; and the dance program is making a huge difference – not only have the kids benefited, but the instructors have as well.  The instructors – me included – have had intensive training twice this past year: in August and in November.  These were great opportunities to improve our technique and deepen our knowledge for teaching.

Visitors, local and international, have been coming to observe the RDDC program, and we have been receiving encouraging comments and suggestions for improving the RDDC website.  There is a team that came from South Africa to make a documentary film about the program. I learned something here:  good work markets itself; it can’t be hindered at all as it finds a way to keep shining by reflecting its good deeds.

The filming of this documentary was an interesting process.  I didn’t understand it when the team first came.  They came with everything that it takes to make a clear, clean documentary, and it took them one week of work, following the RDDC program on the ground, just to capture raw footage of the kids in  both of RDDC’s IT sessions and dance sessions.  The crew also visited the homes of two children (Eric and Patrick), who are now attending the boarding school program of RDDC.  I talked about Patrick in the last blog. Patrick is young, but I was touched by the way he’s concerned about his mom’s half-built house.  Whenever you ask him about the possibility of going to school, he responds by saying: “yes, I really want to go to school, but what about my mom’s house, which fell apart?”  He is a young boy with nothing, but his first concern is trying to help his mother have a place to live with his other three brothers.

The half-constructed home of Patrick's mother

Recently, during the documentary shooting, the crew visited Patrick’s wrecked home and they discovered that the local community was helping to renovate this house.  I think that this work project was completed before Patrick went to school for the first time last month.

Patrick has inspired a lot of the FIDESCO kids.  The children are working harder and show greater commitment because they have learned from Patrick’s example.  He was happy to go to school, and he never thought this chance would happen for him.  If Patrick had ever before been happy and excited about something, it didn’t come close to his emotions this time. Everyone could read it in his face and in his actions.

Ssali Joseph Eugene is one of the Rwandan RDDC dance instructors that leads the FIDESCO program.  He is a contemporary dancer and frequently organizes performances in Kigali.