The film has gotten off to an exciting start with our first three interviews. The film team began in Oregon where we filmed African medicine man Malidoma Patrice Some’. Malidoma is bringing the ideas of the Dagara tribe to the West to foster community, elders, and ritual.
“Why is it that we stay away from suffering? We don’t want to be there when someone is kicking and screaming. That’s because it is so annoying that we run the risk of doing the same thing, with the person. There is indeed a kind of mutuality between the sufferer and the observer, that has this component in it and the observer or the witness has an increasing sense of discomfort. We need to get down to that discomfort in order to realize where we are not, where we need to be. And it is within that discomfort that we discover our true humanity.” Malidoma Patrice Some’
After leaving Malidoma we went on to Vancouver where we filmed feminist philosopher Susan Wendell, author of the groundbreaking book The Rejected Body. Susan lives with chronic fatigue syndrome and has spent many years reflecting upon and writing about the chronically ill/disabled. Like Malidoma, Susan sees the chronically ill as an untapped resource.
“We don’t talk as much about the experience of illness as we talk about how to get over it, how to stop it, how to prevent it, how to relieve it, how you can be healthy if you really try. We don’t look inside the suffering, past the wall of suffering, to see what’s behind it. I think there’s an enormous body of knowledge out there, among people who are suffering, that is untapped, and if we could tap into it more, we’d be less afraid, and we’d know more how to cope when it happens to us.” Susan Wendell
Our third interview with radical diabetes psychologist Barbara J. Anderson brought us to Houston, Texas. Barbara, a long-time advocate for people with diabetes, recently made national news with her outspokenness about the term “diabesity.”
“I think we as healthcare providers so often don’t talk about the suffering and the sacrifice that this disease does involve. We act as though it’s easy to check your blood sugar times six to eight times a day and wear an insulin pump and listen for the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia on the football field. We act as though that’s nothing. And that’s the biggest mistake that any parent or any healthcare provider can make. Is to dismiss the work. And some of the work does involve suffering.” Barbara J. Anderson
Home page photo and photos above by Harrod Blank