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Tubabs in Africa Review by Anissa DeGrasse

Amy Flannery, Mary Flannery and Michael Ford
Documentary Educational Resources
101 Morse Street
Watertown, MA 02472
800-569-6621 or 617-926-0491

This film is about a trip to The Gambia taken by college students from St. Mary's College in Maryland. The trip is a field study in The Gambia and each student will earn 6 college credits for completing the trip along with the final project. While on the trip, the students observe and experience a different culture, language, religion, work and living conditions.

The film begins with each student expressing their expectations of what they will encounter and experience on the trip. It goes on to record their travels throughout Gambia. For example, while traveling by bus to Tumani Tenda, the bus gets stuck in the mud. Some of the students decide to walk the remainder of the trip while others stay with the bus. Some of Gambian school children come to help get the bus out of the mud. In another scene of the film one of the students (Andrew) explains how he learned to bargain with the merchants. He explains how in the beginning of his stay he was paying too much for products because he didn't haggle with the merchants.

The students stay in many different African settings while on the trip. They visit a primitive village, a bird safari camp and many other sites on the route. While in the village of Bajakunda three students enlist the villagers in a trash pick up detail because the village is littered with so much trash. They also visit the Goree Island where historical sites of the Slave trade still stand.

In the end, the students begin to understand the culture and ways of the Gambian people. They begin to respect and admire the Gambian culture and their pace of life. The students leave with a newfound outlook on African and American culture.

Included with the video is a study guide with a brief synopsis, objectives, vocabulary, questions for before and after the film, extension activities, research topics and writing assignments and resources with web links. I found the study guide very helpful with understanding some aspects of the film and found it gave a greater insight to some issues presented in the film. The film was very entertaining and interesting. I would highly recommend the film to enhance and/or to launch a study of African cultures.

Documentary Educational Resources is a non-profit organization that produces documentary films from around the world for educational use. Their website is very informative and easy to navigate. Included on their website is information about workshops, services, and company information. You can also donate to specific projects from their website as well.

-- Product Review by: Anissa DeGrasse, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine