“A Small Act”. This heartwarming documentary centers on the life story of Chris Mburu, who as a small boy living in a mud house in a Kenyan village had his primary and secondary education paid for by a Swedish woman. This cost her $15 a month. They had never met. He went on to the University of Nairobi, graduated from Harvard Law School, and is today a United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.
The film shows Mburu seeking the Swedish woman “who made my life possible.” She is Hilde Back. She is now 85 years old, a German Jew who was sent to Sweden as a child. Her family died in the Holocaust. She never married, was a school teacher, has lived in the same apartment for 35 years, is a tiny woman, but robust and filled with energy.
She is flown to Kenya, serenaded by the choir from Mburu’s village, feasted, thanked, gowned in traditional robes. In the village the students study by the light of a single oil flame. The schools are not physically impressive; crowded classrooms with simple board benches and desks. A gym? Don’t make me laugh. Hilda Back is asked if, since she never had children, she thought of Chris as a son. We see in the film that they stay in close touch. “But I have had children,” she replied. “I was a teacher. I had many, many children.” And one lived in a mud house in Kenya.
(Editor’s note: The little things are the big things. Join my Kiva team today!)