by Martha Adams, 10×10 Producer
Our guide in India, Sam Theodore from World Vision, is one of those renaissance 28 year-olds who can do anything in life. Sent to boarding school at the wee age of six by his missionary parents, Sam forged ahead on his own to develop into an incredible human being. His parents should be proud; today he’s a journalist/ graphic designer/ photographer/ historian/ emergency relief worker who keeps the needs of the poor front and center at all times.
To make the 10×10 film, our production team will be taking three trips to each country we’re featuring. On the first trip we interview up to 50 girls (with the help of our NGO partners) to find the one girl whose story will be told in the film. On our second trip we connect the girl the team has selected with the woman writer who will create the screenplay for that film segment, and on our third trip we film the story. Sam helped us with every aspect of finding the right girls to talk to on our first trip to India, and helped us make connections with the girls and all the World Vision staff working in the field. Our search for the girls who face the biggest challenges in completing their education meant that we spent many hours traveling along narrow bumpy roads, with endless time to chat about the world’s woes. I asked Sam why women have succeeded in politics in India (as prime minister and now as president) while basic human rights for Indian girls still go unaddressed, and his hefty reply inspired a long pause and gaze out the window, and then more intense discussion. His thoughtful perspective stays with us now that we’re back home, working on the next step of the film.
Then there were the other questions — some ridiculous, some flat out stupid, some out of left field that we asked Sam throughout our trip:
Sam, what percentage of women drink alcohol? (Asked as Gina our field producer and I sip a beer in the middle of nowhere.)
“Less than 1% in the countryside.” (Ooops!)
How will this pig find his way home?
“He just will.”
Why are bindi red?
“Because it symbolizes the family bloodline that a husband and wife create.”
Sam, is this skirt too short?
“Yes, a little bit.”
Are there any rules to the madness of the traffic?
“Where there is a gap, fill it.”
Why, Sam, why is the hotel elevator playing Kenny G AGAIN?
“I don’t know.”
Exactly how many Hindi Gods are there, anyway?
Can we get out and take pictures here?
“No.” (While passing through an itty bitty Muslim village.)
Do you snore? (Asked as we are stepping onto a sleeper train car.)
Thank you Sam. For answering all our questions, putting up with our ambitious goals, connecting us to so many great people from World Vision, and for helping us to tell the stories of Indian girls.