See how real super heroes save lives on a medical mission in Sierra Leone.
Over the Christmas season, Dr. Hawanatu Jah organized a medical mission to help the poorest of the poor in Sierra Leone. In three and half days, with only four volunteer doctors, they treated over 600 patients and performed more than twenty surgeries. Passion and humanity brings health and hope in the most dire of circumstances.
"Let's do something different for Christmas" - director's notes
“Let’s do something different this Christmas”, suggested my wife Zainab Jah. Instead of indulging in the excesses of Christmas, she proposed, why not volunteer on a medical mission run by her sister Dr. Hawanatu Jah in Sierra Leone.
Zainab hadn’t been home in over twenty years and I had never set foot in Africa. In her absence, Sierra Leone had suffered from a decade long civil war and a more recent Ebola epidemic. In 1986, her Father, Dr. Sheik Umar Jah, started The Pauper’s Kitchen and Clini.. In the last few years, Hawanatu has taken over the reins as the acting director.
To help with their efforts, in a space of two weeks, Zainab and I raised close to twenty thousand dollars to buy a truck load medical supplies and drugs. While Zainab helped out with registering patients and dispersing prescriptions, I did what I was trained to do - capture it on film.
tS Naylor - Director
T.S. Naylor, born in Michigan, moved to New York City to study film production at New York University's Graduate Film Program. His thesis film "Generic Metal Titan", screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Finalist at the AFI FF, won Bronze at Houston World Fest, and Best Short at The American Film and Video FF. His recent short, “Buried Deep” debuted at the Urban World FF, NYC and screened at the Palm Springs Short FF.
Upon graduation he went on to become a cinematographer and shot scores of indies, spots, music videos and docs. He's also credited as the camera operator for Steve McQueen’s, "Shame" and Comedy Central's "Inside Amy Schumer".
Recently, he’s returned to his passion, directing - making a run of short dramas and documentaries in the past two years. Inspired by everyday life, not a day goes by where he doesn't see something that makes him say, "wouldn't that look great on film?"
zainab jah - narrator - producer
Born in London, and raised as a child in Sierra Leone, Zainab studied dance at London Contemporary School of Dance. She went on to tour the globe as a world class soloist, highlighted by a performance for Nelson Mandela. Leaving dance, she fell in love with her future husband, director, T.S. Naylor and moved to Brooklyn, NY.
With just on the job training, she's gone on to star on Broadway, in the Tony nominated play, "Eclipsed" , winning an Obie. She recently performed the title role in the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Susan Lori Park's production of "Venus" at the Signature Theatre in NYC.
As the first black woman to play Hamlet at a national theatre, The Wilma, Philadelphia, she won Best Actress from the Philadelphia’s Critic Circle. On TV she had a recurring role in Season 6 of "Homeland". She currently stars in the British TV political thriller, “Deep State” (FOX UK).
Dr. Hawanatu jah
Without Hawa, Zainab's sister, there’d be no film; more importantly, no medical mission.
Born in Germany, raised in Sierra Leone as a child, then schooled in Germany, she specialized in gynecology from Justus Liebig University, Gielsen Germany. During Sierra Leone’s Ebola crisis, she worked with the German based NGO Cap Annamur supervising the set up of Freetown’s pediatric Ebola isolation center. Upon completing her Masters in Public Health from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, she recently worked with Doctors with Africa, to improve health conditions in Sierra Leone.
Between clinical work and research, she still manages to organize and run medical missions through the Paupers Kitchen and Clinic. Serving the poorest of the poor, attending ailments such as malaria, river blindness, STD’s, diarrheas, etc., the mission brings healthcare to those who can’t afford it.
Just in her mid 30’s and saving lives for a living, she’s a hero in every sense of the word.
Production Company St Marks Pictures LLC
Director - DP - Editor T.S. Naylor
Producer Zainab Jah and T.S. Naylor
Stills T.S. Naylor
Colorist Ari Rothschild
Re-Recording Mixer Zach McNees