We started off our class on Wednesday Skyping with Tamarin, just to keep everyone updated about each other’s projects. It is unbelievable to think of that we only have 5 weeks left to raise money and to finish planning our projects.
After talking to Tamarin, we watch the movie Yesterday, which was mainly about a mother, named Yesterday, and her daughter, named Beauty. The mother falls ill, which turns out to be HIV that she contracted from her husband who cheated on her. We can follow the mother throughout the movie with sadness and worries. Questions I raised while watching the movie were:
What would happen to her daughter now when she is sick?
And why did Yesterday not say anything about her disease to the people around her?
From the beginning of the movie we can see a huge cultural difference compared to the Western world. In the beginning of the movie the mother and the daughter are walking for hours to get to the doctor, and they never even got to see the doctor because of the tremendously long line. In the Western world you just schedule an appointment at the doctors, then show up, and get the medicine.
When Yesterday finally got to see the doctor, it was clear that she had never been before. She was terrified when the doctor was taking some blood from her. It all just seemed so strange to her. Therefore I think that the movie showed us how we may take certain things for granted- things that are not so obvious for everyone in the world.
For example, we most often believe that we at least will graduate high school. Yesterday was so excited for her daughter just to start school because Yesterday herself had never been educated when she was younger. Yesterday could not read nor write.
Another thing that clearly proved the people in the village’s lack of education was when they were talking about HIV. They all knew by then that Yesterday’s husband had contracted it and said they wanted him out of the village. The teacher, Yesterday’s friend, had to tell them how HIV really is transmitted, something they were unfamiliar with.
Another example of things that we may take for granted is communication. We can easily keep in touch with our family members wherever they are. We rely on phones and being able to communicate with people all around the world. But when Yesterday tried to call her husband she struggled to communicate with him- the payphone did not work. She actually had to travel to where he was to talk to him.
What I also thought of was how the community Yesterday lived in were full of women, without a sight of any men at all. Yesterday’s husband was away for work and I would assume the other women’s husbands must have been too. While the men were away, the women seemed to take care of the houses and similar things like that, getting water, washing, and collecting woods.
What also caught my attention was when Yesterday visited her husband and she was abused, only because he was angry and refused to believe they were both ill. The man sitting outside the room who saw what happened, but he chose not to interfere and by the look on his face it seemed like abuse was completely normal. This is not a cultural difference. Abuse is very common in the Western world toonunfortunately; and people ignoring it may even be more common than what we may think. It is scary to see how far the Western world has come in its education, medicine, and development of technology, while we still have huge problem with domestic violence. I think I reacted very strongly to that particular part of the movie not only because it was terrible watching it, but also because I just read a few chapters in Half the Sky about how badly women are treated in many countries. It was really a tough part of the movie to watch.
What also made me really sad was that I think that this movie really shows the reality for many children and many adults. Many children may become homeless because of HIV, and many children may even die young because of the disease, as many parents pass it on to the next generation.
One last thing I just wanted to point out about the movie were the characters’ names. In the U.S. we are named names that are common here, even if they might mean something it is not obvious. The mother was named “Yesterday” for a reason- something about her father always liked the past more, and the daughter “Beauty” is a strong word to with a clear meaning. I think that was interesting because you do not see that a lot in the U.S. and that is a clear cultural difference.