Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Movie Review - Emmanuel's Gift

I do not recall how I heard about this movie or how it came to be added to our Netflix queue, but I am glad I watched it. Emmanuel's Gift tells the story of Emmanuel Ofoso Yeboah who was born with a deformed leg in Ghana. Although there is a fairly large population of people in Ghana with some form of disability, they are often treated as outcasts, left to go begging in the streets. Emmanuel wanted more than this for himself, and for others. He started by learning a trade - shining shoes for $2/day. Though he actually might have gotten more money by begging, he preferred the dignity of earning a living. Somehow he learned about the Challenged Athletes Foundation and applied for a grant to buy of all things, a bicycle. Once he overcame the difficulty of riding a bicycle with one leg he decided to ride the bicycle across Ghana (about 380 miles) to raise awareness about the plight of disabled people in his country, and to spread his message of victory over disability, and dignity in personal achievement. The story goes on as Emmanuel eventually travels to the United States and decides to accept medical treatment for his condition so that he can be even more effective in bringing hope back to Ghana.
My only frustration with this movie is that a great deal of it is told with English subtitles. This is probably a personal weakness, but I have a hard time watching a movie and reading subtitles at the same time, and sometimes I lose track of it so much that I can't actually finish watching the movie. Because this movie moves back and forth between spoken and written English I had an especially hard time keeping up with all of the dialogue and the story line.
The story itself is amazingly inspirational. If you need someone to convince you that disabilities should not be allowed to exclude a person from any activity they choose, then Emmanuel would be a good place to start.


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