Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Excellent word comes from ABC News, if it holds. A report about Frederic, the Imbabazi Orphanage artist and photographer, is scheduled for Thanksgiving on "PrimeTime Thursday" (10 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CT). His hands were amputated during the Rwanda genocide of 1994 and have since been replaced by prosthetics with help from supporters of the Rwanda Project: Through the Eyes of Children.

Frederic's story was originally supposed to run Aug. 14 on ABC's "World News Tonight" but didn't: That turned out to be the night of the big Northeast blackout. This time the piece will have an added mention about project founder David Jiranek, who died accidentally on Aug. 17.

I've written about the Rwanda Project many times before as "an arts project of the most stirring kind." (Definitely click on the flash introduction.)Frederic is one of 13 children who were part of it. See for yourself who Frederic is. Go to the group photo "Meet the Children" and run your mouse over his face in the upper lefthand corner (he's the one in the yellow shirt).

Meantime, as I've written before, you can listen to an NPR interview of orphanage founder Rosalind Carr, who is 90 and still going strong. "She's everybody's feisty grandmother who can entertain you for hours, sitting at her knee, listening to her fabulous stories," David Jiranek said not long before he died. "She has perfectly coiffed gray hair, is a magician with gardens and plants, has tea every day at 4, and then slugs [it out] with the government, landlords, etc. fighting for her kids."

As I've also written before, how about buying a print of one of "The Rwanda Project" artists? Hell, buy more than one. It's a tax-deductible donation. Here's how to help. If you can't afford the price of a print ($100), just enjoy the photos on the site and forward the URL to friends.

POSTSCRIPT: Late word comes that there will be no mention of David Jiranek, founder of the Rwanda Project, in the "Primetime" piece. No matter, even if it's possible that of all the stories connected with the Imbabazi Orphanage, Jiranek's might actually be the most fascinating. He was too modest ever to have believed that and, had he lived, he never would have allowed anybody else to believe it. But those who knew him will appreciate what I mean.

posted by janherman @ Wednesday, November 26, 2003