Saturday, 14 May 2011

Pushing the Elephant

For the past few weeks, the International Rescue Committee has been running a documentary film series as a fundraiser.

I saw Pushing the Elephant.

At the center of this film is Rose Mapendo, who was imprisoned with her family during the violence that erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She escaped with nine of her ten children and eventually resettled in Phoenix, Arizona.

The film is about reuniting Rose with her daughter who was left behind. Nangabire must adjust to her large family, high school and American life.

As Rose travels home to help other survivors, she tells a group of women that alone they would not be able to ‘push an elephant’ but if they pulled together and used their resources they could do anything and make a better life for themselves.

After the credits rolled, two seniors from a San Diego high school were introduced and took questions from the audience. One young woman had been born in a refugee camp and lived there for 15 years before coming to San Diego.

That was amazing in and of itself.

But what struck me most was that, on the outside, these were two typical American students. They rolled their eyes, told funny stories and had goals. One wants to go into nursing. The other wants to be a pharmacist.

We all have obstacles to face.

That is part of life.

It is the size of the elephant that makes their stories so incredible.


  1. And it is the size of the caring heart which hears this story and is moved. Very touched by your heart which can relate this story, albiet without breathtaking graphics, and still be compelling.