Third World Reportage in Siouxland

30 Aug

I attended a film showing this week on the campus of Northwestern College. The film screening was sponsored by the Orange City, Iowa, Arts Council. The film was shot and produced by Mark Volkers, a documentary film maker and instructor, along with help from some of his students that he teaches at Dordt College. Both Northwestern and Dordt are private Christian schools. Not only teaching usable skills to its students to succeed in this world, but also teaching them to do it humanely and with a conscious. But that is never really known until the students are in the world pursuing their passions and interests.

Volkers film, “The Fourth World”, is about slums in Third World countries, where life is very tough, and not to be dramatic, but life and death. As tough as times have been in the U.S. the last few years with the economy and such, it all pales when you watch the film. And even though some U.S. media do stories from time to time, none of them bother to follow those events until there are horrific tragedies such as the building collapse in Bangladesh where clothing for American companies was being produced. It seems at times that living in the U.S. keeps us insulated from the these events, which one couldn’t follow on a daily basis without feeling despair. Although more of these events are followed and reported on by European news media and those in Asia.

But is it comforting to know that some young people may be affected by what they experience, see, or read? To carry on that need to keep people informed, and while people may not always be able to help, but at least to remember their humanity and that there is more suffering in the world than a bad grade, flat tire or other seemingly monumental problem we may encounter.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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