Friday, September 08, 2006

Goodbye City Streets, Hello African Wilderness

I just learned that this movie, which I meant to see when it was in theaters last Dec., is being showed on PBS at 10pm on Tuesday.  It looks GREAT!  It's won a ton of awards ( and got a nice review in the NYT:
November 30, 2005

Goodbye City Streets, Hello African Wilderness

"The Boys of Baraka" gives a poignant human face to an alarming statistic: 76 percent of black male students in Baltimore city schools do not graduate from high school. The documentary, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, tells you why. A toxic poor-neighborhood environment destroys hope and undermines self-esteem.

This setting, from which a group of Baltimore middle-school students are extracted and sent to a school in the African wilderness, is the same nihilistic street culture portrayed on the HBO series "The Wire."

In this experimental program 20 "at risk" 12- and 13-year-old black male students are transported 10,000 miles to the Baraka School in rural Kenya. Founded in 1996 on a 150-acre ranch where there is no television or full-time electricity, it offers academic instruction and strict but gentle discipline in an environment where giraffes and zebras roam. Children who complete the two-year program have a high success rate when applying for entrance at the city's most competitive high schools.

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