Living with refugees
Download in English (192 MB)
Sorious Samura returns to Africa to uncover the realities of being one of Darfur’s countless refugees on the Sudan-Chad border.
Award-winning journalist Sorious Samura is increasingly gaining a reputation for a new kind of journalism which not many others can do. It’s ‘real’ reality TV – stories that offer a unique perspective into the lives of people facing terrible situations. On this journey he set out to become, for all intents and purposes, a refugee. He traveled to Chad to live with a family in a refugee camp for one month. He lived under exactly the same conditions, eating what they ate, drinking what they drank. Sorious built close intimate relationships with the people in this situation sharing their hopes and fears. This film provides a unique insight into what life is really like for a refugee.
Adam has 2 wives, 8 children, no money and all his friends have been murdered. Sorious meets Adam at the Chad/Sudan border where he has been living on handouts – but he’s outstayed his welcome. Even though he doesn’t know how far it is, he’s heading for a UN refugee camp further to the west in Chad. He agrees Sorious can follow his family on this journey. “You have come all this way to tell our story, you are our brother.”
Never before has someone filmed an exodus of people in this way. As the journey progresses more refugees join the group – there’s safety in numbers. Sorious is exhausted and cannot keep up. He follows their methods of survival, digging dry riverbeds for water and eating only once. Sorious speaks to Adam about what happened in Darfur, he breaks down “Please don’t make me remember what happened, it’s just too much.”
After an epic 3 day journey the family finally reaches the camp, however it isn’t what they were expecting. With no food or shelter they are forced to fend for themselves. Staggeringly, even amongst this group of desperate people, Sorious learns there are the “haves” and “have nots”. The only aid and assistance they receive comes from other refugees.
We follow the family as they try to make some sort of home for themselves. Fatima, Adam and their six kids sleep under a small piece of tarpaulin. Fatima, Adams’s wife, is a strong, elegant, tough woman who is holding the family together. For Adam, although tough and resolute, the situation is almost too much to bear: “There’s no respect for us in our own country and here they treat us like animals.” For Sorious, the time he is spending in the camp is starting to have an effect: “Refugee – I hate the word. I hate the word now more than ever because it robs a man of his identity his status his respect – everything.”
As we see with Adam and his family the bureaucracy of the aid business sometimes leaves those most vulnerable behind. The UNHCR tell Sorious that “The situation here is a mess.” As the film draws to a close Sorious points out that, yet again, situations like this are a damming indictment on all of us. “Too often, too little is done too late.”
Through Sorious video diaries and the filming of the crew who shadowed him throughout his experiences with Adam and his family we see the life of a refugee as it’s never been seen before. It’s a first, an exclusive and a must-see film for anyone wishing to truly understand what it is like to be a refugee. Undoubtedly this is one of the most important documentaries of the year.