A Rude Awakening: "When the Night Comes" Review

When night falls in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, residents can sleep without having to be afraid of being bit by a mosquito. People also wake up without having to constantly worry if they were infected. A night in northern Uganda is a completely different story; people fall asleep fearful for their lives and wake up still afraid. Bloomsburg Amnesty International Club held a screening on Wed. Nov. 17 on the documentary, “When the Night Comes.” The film was shown to kick off the clubs next campaign on raising awareness on malaria.

“When the Night Comes,” is a 60 minute documentary that tries to raise awareness about malaria. The ultimate goal is the end malaria globally by 2015. Director, Bobby Bailey and two friends, Jodie Smith and Mike Hobert travel to northern Uganda to learn more about malaria.  Smith and Hobert have never been to Africa, are traveling along to gain a holistic perspective.

Before Bailey begins his trip to Uganda he does a little research to learn about the alarming statistics regarding malaria. Malaria surpassed the number of deaths caused by typhoid fever, the bubonic plague, and Spanish influenza. Malaria kills almost one million people per year. Knowing these facts Bailey wanted to see how the Smith and Hobert would react to seeing the effects of malaria first hand.  They didn’t know what to expect and what they did see was a major rude awakening.

Both members of the westernized world, Smith and Hobert seemed to embody all modernized people in the film. They didn’t know what to expect from their trip and they didn’t know how they would react from their experience. At first, they went around meeting people and talking about malaria. The people told of the horrid stories about malaria and what malaria took from them. It was an educational experience that put things in perspective. Mike Hobert, in his thirties, said that he never had to deal with anything like this nor did he have to deal with it at 15. The kids they met were so young, too young to have to worry about something like malaria.

For Hobert and Smith, malaria became real when they witnessed an infant die first hand. It was crucial that Bailey asked for the child’s name; Ivan. It makes a difference when there is a face and a name when talking about someone who died. They are not just another person who died and they are not just another statistic. This was the moment when tears fell. Tears started to fall from Hobert and Smith as they turned their heads. The mother was in shock and didn’t know what to do. Some may say this moment exploited the people living in Uganda, but in reality it instilled compassion in the hearts of the people who watched this very emotional scene. This controversial scene makes malaria very real. These are real people suffering from a disease that can be prevented.

It’s not a warlord, it’s not a leader and it’s not a corrupted dictator. The enemy is an insect. It kills a child every 30 seconds. That means that every 30 seconds a mother loses her child. This is a wakeup call. There is a lot to take from this motivational documentary. In the end, it was interesting how Bailey decided to replace the credits with more statistics regarding malaria and ways to help end malaria. The ultimate goal is to stop malaria by 2015. Bailey introduced Nothing But Nets which is an organization that provides nets to people in Africa that are at risk of malaria. Providing nets can help people sleep at night knowing they are safe from the mosquitoes and it also helps prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

This inspirational movie should leave people feeling motivated and inspired to make a difference in the world. The documentary made people think back and reflect on their personal lives and see what they take for granted. When night falls in Bloomsburg, people can sleep at night safe and secure without having to worry about a deadly disease like malaria. This documentary is astonishingly compelling leaving people to walk away feeling hopeful for change. People have the power to make a difference and help put an end to this deadly plague.

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