When I left Rainbow Town in 2006, I wrote in bright red letters in my journal, “Rainbow Town, I promise to tell your story.”
Full of incredible faith, unwavering joy, and childlike bliss, Rainbow Town is a story of human survival and unquenchable hope.
I first met Ma Feeta and the children in 2004 when the war was just eight months gone. They were squatting in an abandoned two-room structure near Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city.
Imagine 100 people. Now imagine 100 people living together in two rooms.
Despite their dire situation, Ma Feeta brought out deliciously sweet fried plantains on a silver plate as a gesture of welcome.
I was in Liberia interning for an international relief agency and was assigned to children’s projects. Little did I know the Rainbow Town family would forever change the course of my life.
In 2007, I organized our crew and returned to capture the story. By this time, Ma Feeta and the children had moved upcountry to Rainbow Town, a 50-acre plot of land in rural Gbarnga.
Over the course of five months, our crew collected over 60 hours of video, 3,000 still images, and over 30 original songs sung by the children. I could write a novel, a series of novels in fact, based on times spent with the Rainbow Town family.
But, through the 75-minute film, photo exhibit, children’s artwork, soundtrack, and website, I hope, as young Faith says in the film, people can, “Come see Rainbow Town, how it’s beautiful.”
I hope people will then go further and seek answers to questions raised by the Rainbow Town story. Questions like who, in the wake of war, is responsible for answering young people’s cries for education and opportunity, once the shooting stops?
Limited films have been made in and about Liberia. Some cover Liberia’s crisis but none focus on its children. Rainbow Town adds to the collection of materials available about Liberia’s war in its critical period of reconstruction.
It is my humble honor to share the story of Ma Feeta and the children of Rainbow Town with you. They reveal a beauty in the ashes of war.