Kisilu Musya is a farmer, breadwinner to a family of nine people and a part-time filmmaker. He takes self-portraits in his hometown of Mutomo, Kenya, covering the effects of climate change on his family and community’s livelihoods. His clips are impressive. They capture the growing inconcistencies of weather patterns and their various manifestations: wind, flash floods and extreme drought.
As a subsistence farmer, Kisilu is also, in some many ways, a climatologist. He observes the rainfall patterns closely every season and notices that their increasing irregularity is causing an exodus of community members to more urban environs to seek work. He observes these changes with aplomb. Even when the much-anticipated nimbus clouds eventually come bringing winds that blow off his corrugated iron roof, he maintains composure.
Kisilu: The Climate Diaries blends the poignant footage of Kisilu and the film director Julia Dahl’s composition to tell the story of a man who, at personal cost, transforms himself from being a farmer documenting his misfortunes to becoming a teacher and advocate of harnessing the best of what nature has to give – even as it undergoes change.
The documentary is an inspiring portrait of a man who refuses to give up, who continues to drive long-term change in a community fighting for day-to-day survival. This year Kisilu and his community received government funding to set up an irrigation system. This December Kisilu will be attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Kisilu: The Climate Diaries premieres on Wednesday, 2 December 2015 at 22h00 SAST on Witness, Al Jazeera’s observational documentary strand, with repeats on Thursday 3 December at 1400, Friday 4 December at 0300, and Saturday, 5 December at 0800.
Watch the trailer below