November 12 & 14, 2011
Both of these shoots were successful not just in the quality of footage we were able to capture, but in the deeper understanding of Omer’s life and some of the struggles he faces. On Saturday night Omer organized and hosted a gathering of people in the Sudanese community from Greensboro. It was held just down the hall from the offices of African Service Coalition in downtown Greensboro. Roughly 25 people attended this little party, eating delicious food (can’t have a Sudanese party without it!) and socializing.
The highlight of the evening was the music. After dinner Alamin Khalifa got out his Arabic Lute and played and sang for everyone. We really enjoyed his music and hope to include some of it in the film. He is very talented. Afterwards people took turns reciting poems and telling stories.
On Monday morning we changed gears and observed Omer at work in his office. He seemed to always be on the phone, talking to his colleagues, or seeing the numerous refugees that come in and see him. He was trying to get as much work done as possible before 1 pm, as he wanted to go to his son Moyaed’s school to see him win an award. We really got the sense that Omer is trying to be all things to all people and is running himself ragged. He is trying to be a husband, a father, a social worker, and a community elder and spokesman, all at the same time; and for Omer, the consequences of not being all these things are high. At work, Omer deals on a daily basis with refugees with significant health problems, trying to find them jobs in a bad economy. At home, Omer is struggling to understand his children’s lack of interest in Sudanese culture. The fact is, Omer’s childhood in Sudan was incredibly different compared to his children’s life in America.
-Peter and Nick