Buddha in Africa | DW Documentary
An orphaned African boy grows up in a Buddhist boarding school in Malawi. He is torn between his East African culture and the teachings of the Far East. This film tells a story of hope and doubt.
In 2004, a Buddhist boarding school was founded in the East African country of Malawi. The Amitofo Care Center was started by a monk from Taiwan. Enock Alu, 16, has lived there since he was seven years old. After his mother died and his father abandoned him, he was one of the first children to be accepted by the institution.
Each day at the boarding school begins at 4.30am with prayers, followed by morning exercises and breakfast. Afterwards, the children rush to the Yuan Tong School, where Chinese culture and history as well as Mandarin language lessons are taught. Once a year, they embark on a grand tour to raise funds for the center. Traveling through Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and South America, they present their kung fu martial arts skills and sing Chinese songs to members of the international Buddhist community.
However, Enock is becoming increasingly alienated from his own African culture, in part because the students are only allowed to return to their home villages once a year for two weeks. Enock belongs to the Wayao people, a predominantly Muslim minority in Malawi. He still understands his native language, Yao, but because he used it too little in his childhood, today he is unable to speak it himself. Because of this language barrier, Enock cannot participate in traditional rituals and feels excluded. Enock is torn between his desire to return to his village and the wishes of his teachers, who want to send him to Taiwan to study.
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