Taking Away the Distance: A Young Orphan's Journey and the AIDS Epidemic in Africa Crusade to Unite Children Orphaned by the E

Taking Away the Distance: A Young Orphan's Journey and the AIDS Epidemic in Africa Crusade to Unite Children Orphaned by the E

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by Miles Roston
     
 

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In this emotional story of hope and inspiration, an African boy, orphaned by AIDS becomes a catalyst for AIDS orphans worldwide. Living in a shantytown in Kenya, Kevin Sumba's life was one of loneliness and hardship. Yet he was determined to get an education. Miles Roston, a documentary filmmaker, first met Kevin while making a film on AIDS orphans. He found that this…  See more details below

Overview

In this emotional story of hope and inspiration, an African boy, orphaned by AIDS becomes a catalyst for AIDS orphans worldwide. Living in a shantytown in Kenya, Kevin Sumba's life was one of loneliness and hardship. Yet he was determined to get an education. Miles Roston, a documentary filmmaker, first met Kevin while making a film on AIDS orphans. He found that this particular boy touched his heart in a way he hadn't anticipated. Together, they set out to answer "Kevin's Questions" about the AIDS epidemic and more specifically, Kevin's situation. Taking Away the Distance takes us on a singular journey, as powerful policymakers and those working at a grassroots level deal with the direct, and at times confronting, questions of one boy. Along the way, we also meet people directly impacted by the epidemic and face their lives heroically: from children surviving homelessness on Nairobi's streets to a mother on her deathbed whose only thought is how to care for the children she will leave behind. As Kevin and Roston form a bond of love and respect, each learning from the other, we discover just how much our own lives can change if we dare to help.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A filmmaker's frustrating account of his friendship with an African boy orphaned by AIDS. Roston is a man with a mission: to help the world learn about the 15 million children, most of them living in sub-Saharan Africa, who have lost their parents to AIDS. While making his first movie about HIV in 2001, Roston met Kevin Sumba. The 12-year-old boy, whose mother had died, lived alone in a shack, roasting nuts that he then sold to support himself. Once his film was completed, Roston tried to move on to other projects, feeling that he "had done my bit for the AIDS epidemic," but he kept thinking about all those children, especially Kevin. So he began work on another film: This time, rather than being interviewed by an adult, Kevin would ask the questions, quizzing clerics, politicians and educators about their views on the AIDS epidemic. Roston discovered that African children are told over and over not to use condoms, but simply to abstain-a message, he argues persuasively, that will only lead to more deaths. He points to Thailand as an example of another approach; there, the promotion of safe sex has helped curtail the epidemic. All this is worthy material, but Roston's prose and structure muffle its impact. He has an annoying habit of interrupting the narrative with occasional super-short, coy chapters. "A Brief Note about God and Condoms," for example, runs a mere four paragraphs. He devotes more time to ponderous metaphors than to helping readers get to know the cast of characters, most of whom-including Roston-remain curiously underdeveloped. Readers may be moved by the plight of African orphans in general, but they're unlikely to make a particular connection with Kevin or his mentor.Those seeking a powerful investigation of AIDS in Africa should skip this uneven work and find Helen Epstein's The Invisible Cure (2007).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786732647
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
04/20/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

The Emmy-nominated Miles Roston is a writer and director of films, his most recent being the documentaries Make It Real (to me) for the Sundance Channel, and 14 Million Dreams. Both films dealt with the AIDS epidemic in Africa and its effect on children. Currently he is at work writing and directing a major motion picture, a fable dealing with children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.

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Taking Away the Distance 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beyond the statistics. Beyond the stereotypes. Miles Roston introduces us to a real kid - Kevin - and the real life challenges facing children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world. Kevin is a courageous young man who continued to go school after both his parents died. Roston, a filmmaker, transitions into the role of a humanitarian as he learns more about Kevin's courage and desperate attempt to live a full life. Roston who understands the global HIV/AIDs leadership dynamics realizes the urgency of ensuring that the children are protected and guaranteed a future. Roston's frustration with slow actions gives him the courage to give Kevin a louder voice in the world. Plus, Roston fulfills Kevin dream of going to medical school. Imagine if more children asked world leaders for the truth on HIV/AIDS and what really is being done to help entire communities devastated by HIV/AIDS. Imagine if more people 'adopted' one orphan and ensured that the child had an education and a future. The world would certainly be a better place. Read 'Taking Away the Distance' and see what one little kid in Kenya inspired in a filmmaker from New York City.