The Human Experience (2008) Movie Script

My whole life,
I just try to fit in,
Try to fit in, you know,
And it's like...
It's like, you know,
you do that for a...
You do that because...
I did it because
I didn't get...
You know, I felt like
I didn't fit in at home,
In my own very...
my own house, you know?
And it's like,
I didn't have
that sense of security
And the love that I needed
from both parents.
And it's like,
that took an effect on me,
So it's like,
I'm trying to search myself
in some sense, some way.
Things I don't know
about myself,
I learn through life,
But I should've learned it
when I was younger.
But I couldn't
'cause of my situation
back home.
So now I feel like...
I don't know.
I feel like
this gives me an opportunity,
A chance to...
I don't know...
To really just...
To really get to know
who I am, I guess, you know?
Here in the parking lot.
And they had nothing
on whiffle ball.
So we could take them out too,
you know what I mean?
- Want a little bit?
- Yeah, a little bit.
Oh, on Thursday.
- He turns 21 on Saturday.
- Wow.
Yo, you know what that means,
don't you?
That's brotherly love.
So that's my brother, cliff.
He's a real character.
We're seven years apart.
And that's matthew,
who, not by blood,
I still consider my brother.
And sitting
next to me is mike.
We live together
here in brooklyn, new york,
At a place called
the st. Francis house.
People come here
for all different reasons:
Orphans, family problems,
economic problems, drugs.
What can I say?
Some call it
a halfway house or a group home.
We just call it home.
I live right now
at the st. Francis house,
Which has given me
a second chance at life.
I mean, we came from
some pretty real backgrounds.
I grew up poor.
I grew up with my family
not really being around.
We're a family.
For most of us
living here,
Life wasn't
all that easy growing up.
It tends to leave you
With a lot
of unanswered questions.
You ask yourself
all the time,
"where are we going,
and why?"
Two and two,
two and two.
Here we go.
It's something that I wasn't
used to, was a family life,
Giving me the life
that I never had
That I always wanted.
Yo, come on.
Let's not waste daylight.
- Let me pitch.
- Yeah, come on, no, no, no.
- Come on, please?
Let me pitch.
- Give me the ball.
Let me pitch. I want to pitch.
I'm a good pitcher.
Back off.
Get out of here.
All right, all right.
So three months ago,
Cliff and I wanted to experience
something new and unusual.
We had a desire to see the world
through someone else's eyes.
The desire would eventually
take us around the world,
Meeting new people
with new ideas
And new philosophies
And pretty much every race,
religion, color, and creed.
For our first experience,
Cliff and I decided to join
the thousands of people
Who would spend their winter
sleeping out on the cold,
Brutal streets
of new york city.
We would live homeless
in new york
Without money or food
and try to experience life
And attempt to find hope
amidst the city's most hopeless.
As it would happen,
Our adventure would begin
right in our own backyard,
The concrete jungle.
We have an opportunity
to put ourselves
In a homeless man's shoes.
And the only way to do that
is to actually do it.
We've got a long night
ahead of us,
And I think
it's going to be a cold one.
# I said darkness
has covered my light #
# and has changed
my day into night, yeah #
My ass is freezing, dude.
I'm freaking shaking here,
just sitting.
And I'm not even here,
like, half an hour yet.
For me,
everything's an adventure.
You know, if a car breaks down
on the highway
And we got to, you know,
change a tire or fix it,
That's an adventure for me,
you know?
I'm shaking right now,
and I'm awake.
I can only imagine
when my body slows down
When I'm trying to sleep.
I don't mind
being a little cold.
You know,
it's just a little sacrifice.
I got nowhere
to go right now.
I got nobody to see.
A little sacrifice just to get
some wisdom and knowledge
And to, you know,
just be thankful
For everything I've got.
I'm bored, I'm uncomfortable,
and I'm cold.
I will definitely help
my brother out if he needs help.
And we're going through
this together, you know?
I'm ready to call it quits.
Well, as long as we're
going through it together,
You know,
it'll be easy.
Overall, I know it's gonna be
quite an experiment
And quite an experience.
What keeps them going?
Why is it
that they wake up every day?
What's their reason
for living?
To feel or experience
for a couple of nights
What it's like
to be homeless,
You have to prepare for it.
You have to have your box.
You have to have your blanket.
You have to behave
just like a homeless person.
The best place to sleep in the city
Is by a church.
It's safer there.
If I go by that man's house
and sleep,
He's with society,
So he's going
to call the cops.
Oh, you want to understand
what homelessness means?
You have to live it.
You know what I mean?
You see homeless people
on the street.
You see homeless people
everywhere, you know?
You have to live it.
You have to feel it.
You could be living in an
apartment now and enjoying life,
And the next day,
you're out in the street.
How are you
going to handle that?
It's a very rough transition.
It's not the royal palace,
but it'll have to do.
Hope it's a warm night.
This is definitely
a different experience.
We're in a community
with all these guys,
With all these
homeless men
Sleeping in cardboard boxes.
And, you know,
it's like,
You don't know
where they're coming from,
So you have
to be careful.
You don't know
who you're sleeping next to.
I know the streets
of new york city,
But to actually sleep
Out in the streets
of new york city
Is a whole different experience.
You learn a lot
when you travel.
You learn how people live.
Everyone survives differently.
I grew up
in a very abusive house.
And my dad
was an alcoholic...
A drug addict.
He was very abusive to me
and to my two older brothers
And my mom as well.
I was kind of a...
I was a surprise baby.
I was a surprise.
I wasn't intended.
You know, my mom
didn't plan on me.
I wasn't a planned baby.
I did have my fun times
as a kid, you know?
I wasn't close to my father,
But I do look back,
and I say to myself,
You know, "he did...
there was good times."
July 4th was, like,
my dad's day.
That was his day.
He would get, like,
the best fireworks,
And the whole block
would be involved.
And we'd light fireworks,
And it would go on
for hours.
It'd be from...
as soon as that sun went down,
Just start lighting fireworks,
you know?
Everyone loved
my dad for that.
There'd be a firecracker belt,
And it'd just stretch out
from one end of the street
All the way down
to the other.
And it was just great,
you know?
That was...
I look at those.
You know,
I look at those memories.
I look at those moments.
Everyone lives differently.
When you go somewhere
out of your own comfort zone,
Out of your own realm,
And you enter someone else's,
That's learning.
It's going to be a cold one,
so dress warm.
This is the kind of weather
That makes you want to stay home.
There we were.
We were taking part
of that lifestyle.
Your whole perspective changes.
I mean, you're there.
You're amongst the people.
We're sleeping with maybe seven
others guys in cardboard boxes.
And you're taking part of that
feeling of being homeless.
You know,
it was a wild trip.
# sweetly sleeping
in an empty street #
# as if the city
was meant for me #
God has a purpose
for us all.
If he didn't have
a purpose for me,
I would've been gone
a long time ago.
I really believe that.
I've been in situations
where I should've been shot,
Ran over, overdosed.
I should've had aids,
but I never caught it.
I was exposed to it
I don't know how many times,
But god,
for some reason,
Has got some kind of purpose.
He's got something for me to do.
I believe that.
Every person
should experience this,
Because people take everything
for granted in life.
And I think every person
should experience this
For a few weeks,
'cause people don't appreciate
what they have.
We living in the greatest city
in the world.
It should not be no reason
why so many people
Are homeless
on the streets.
You know, people walk around,
and I look around,
And I see people
in wheelchairs,
And they're sick.
And there's a lot of people
more worse off than I am
Than just homelessness.
I mean, you have
an opportunity right now
To tell a lot of people
What you may have been wanting
to say to them for a long time
Or just the public in general,
What do you have
to say to them?
You know,
you can't say everyone is bad.
We all have something
happen to us.
And if you don't have
a good family or friends
To support you,
then you're in a lot of shit.
'cause it's family and friends.
And, you know,
this is life.
When this
first happened to me,
There were four dogs on the street, A dog.
And everyone was
on their cell phone, going,
"I'll take this dog,"
and, "we'll take this dog."
And they all helped the dogs.
They all helped the dogs.
They took the dogs home
So they wouldn't
freeze to death.
And they let me stand there.
- How'd that make you feel?
- You're my brother.
I'm jewish.
I had a rabbi
Who said,
"that's your brother,
"and that's your sister.
"and if you see your brother
or your sister in trouble,
You help them."
If you treasure your own life,
You should treasure
others' lives.
And you should live
with the sensitivity
That you know you have
And, therefore,
that others have.
Find those things that are
universal to us all as humans.
Find those belief systems,
And then
let's experience it.
I think we can find at least
small examples, right,
Where ordinary
human beings can talk
About deeply transformative
Well, we just got kicked out
from where we were sleeping.
It's 5:30
in the morning right now.
It is really,
really cold.
This is just life
on the streets, pretty much.
You know?
We had to move,
so we moved.
And now
we have to get warm,
So I guess we're gonna walk
around and try to stay warm.
How you doing, sir?
I'm homeless right now.
If you could help out
by, you know,
Maybe a doughnut or something,
And I was wondering if you
could help me with some food,
Something hot to drink
or a hot chocolate,
You know, something to eat,
something small,
Even a little piece of bread.
It doesn't have
to be big, just anything.
We just walked up
to a concession stand.
The guy wasn't so willing
to give us any food at first,
But after talking to him,
you know, he just was kind
And gave us
a few bananas.
You want a banana?
I like it when
they're a little bruised too.
My hand is freezing.
You know why the people
from the outside see us as bad?
Because they're
not living it, man.
They're not experiencing
this shit.
They go to starbucks
and buy a coffee for $5.
You know what I mean?
Buy them a doughnut for $3.50.
I can't afford that.
It's honesty.
You know what I mean?
People see
that I'm real, you know?
I mean,
I don't want your money.
Hey, I need something to eat.
# it's the message in the song
that makes you rock on #
# some people go to places
where they don't belong #
# whether wrong or right
So I'm homeless,
and I'm happy.
And a lot of people talk to me.
You know what I'm saying?
I got girls talking to me.
I got old ladies talking to me.
I got all kinds of people talking to me.
You know what I mean?
Because the happiness
is your strength.
You got to come up with something;
you know what I mean?
You got to make it unique,
Because you can easily fall apart,
Mentally, physically,
A lot of times,
people don't believe
That they can
get out the street.
But I believe
that I will be able to get out.
Why is life worth living?
One thing I realized very early
in my medical training
Is that no matter
how bad off a person is...
Handicapped people
with really bad deformities,
Even people in pain...
For everybody, their life
was a treasure to them.
And they wanted us to take care
of them with a tenderness
And a concern
for their good.
Life is worth living
because it just is.
People know that.
People know their own life
is worth living.
Some people get depressed
And they lose the sense
of their life being significant.
But usually, that's because
the part of them
That sustains hope
is broken for the moment.
And if you could
just get them through it,
Most of them would then reaffirm
that their life is worth living.
I talked to a guy who jumped off
the golden gate bridge.
He said, halfway down,
He realized he wished
he hadn't jumped.
He was all broken up,
but he lived through it.
But it's not the nature of life
to be despairing.
The nature of life
is to be hopeful.
Strange, isn't it?
Each man's life touches
so many other lives.
When he isn't around,
he leaves an awful hole,
Doesn't he?
Are you sure
this is bailey park?
No, I'm not sure
of anything anymore.
All I know is,
this should be bailey park.
But where are the houses?
You weren't here
to build them.
Your brother, harry bailey,
broke through the ice
And was drowned
at the age of nine.
That's a lie.
Harry bailey went to war.
He got the congressional medal
of honor.
He saved the lives of every man
on that transport.
Every man
on that transport died.
Harry wasn't there to save them
Because you weren't there
to save harry.
You see, george, you really had
a wonderful life.
Here's your one tray, please.
Thank you.
Life is other people.
It's just that simple.
And if you view each
of the other that you meet
As being a component
of yourself,
It can change the way
you see things.
What is your meaning?
Like, what's your outlook
on life?
What is the reason for living?
I'm not on this planet for nothing.
I'm here for a purpose.
I don't know
what that purpose is.
Like this gentleman said,
we all have our faults.
We all did our things. So if our
purpose is to make mistakes
And learn from our mistakes,
That's gonna help us
to be a greater
Or less of a greater individual
along the way.
We meet people
through our life.
So my main focus is,
why my existence here
Is to help other people
and, as well, ask to get help.
I try to keep a good outlook.
With that, I can have my hope
and my dreams.
And I don't have to give...
I do not have to give anything,
including my dignity.
Forget about the part
that you have a home, okay.
Let's not acknowledge that.
But what did you experience
By you taking
this leap of faith?
I felt very vulnerable,
you know, vulnerable,
Easy to be attacked by anybody.
- It's a bunch of emotions.
- It's a lot.
I felt, at times, a little
humiliated, embarrassed.
- Yeah.
- You're not secure.
You're definitely not...
you're not safe.
To get to know
some homeless people
And to get to see some
of that commonness of humanity,
How very similar we really are.
I congratulate you.
At least you got balls enough
to come out here
And really sit around us
And understand
what we go through.
Most people say,
"oh, they're not human."
No, we're not automatons,
Okay, you know, we have blood.
We have a heart.
We have a mind, a spirit,
and a soul.
As we get more days,
more experience on the street...
I don't know...
you become more humbled.
You become more...
You can feel the humility that
the homeless people go through.
And I don't know.
It's different.
Like, I don't know.
My whole heart feels different.
Really, it doesn't matter
who you are,
What your background is.
You can converse
on that experience.
And that is what makes us human.
That's a beginning
of a human community.
Experience can be
a generous teacher
Or a cruel teacher.
And it depends on those
experiences in life.
But whatever experience
we have,
Whether it is good
or whether it's bad,
We can always remember it
and learn something from it.
And it's those moments,
you know,
When something touches you,
something opens up,
Something that you didn't
realize before,
You hear a longing, you know,
that you never felt before.
Those human experiences that
define how you communicate
With your spouse,
How you communicate
with your children,
How you communicate
as a teacher.
You know, I think it defines
how we communicate, period,
As a society.
And when you experience
those things,
It brings growth.
And so you won't get caught up
in the facades anymore,
The little differences
that they talk about
That become big things.
You won't buy that anymore.
You know, and if you don't
buy it anymore,
They can't sell it to us.
We can talk
about ideas forever,
But ideas are simply that.
They're thoughts.
They're abstractions.
And until these ideas
are rooted in reality,
In the reality of my own life,
my own experience,
They can't be tested.
They can't be known
to be true.
Wil kinnane
is one of my heroes.
The story goes, he was taking
a road trip
With his brother to new york,
And his brother asked him
What he wanted to do
for the rest of his life.
Wil answered, he wanted to surf
and help people.
And surf for the cause
was born.
The idea was a group of surfers
traveling the world
In search of the perfect wave
And giving back
to the communities
And the people who call
these beautiful beaches home.
So cliff and I found ourselves
along for the ride
In a van full of surfers
down the pan-am highway
Somewhere in south america.
I was told not to drive
at night by the surf guide.
"do not drive at night."
And here we are at night,
After driving
all through the night,
We finally start to smell
the salt in the air.
As soon as the guys got
their first look at the ocean,
They were out of the van
and surfing
Before I had realized
what was happening.
I'd never been surfing before
in my life,
And I wasn't too sure
that the big waves of peru
Were the best place to learn.
So after a great surf session
for the guys
And a couple of hours
of me getting my butt kicked,
We packed up the van and headed
to the children's home,
Where surf for the cause
was scheduled
To volunteer
for dr. Tony and his staff
Helping the lost and abandoned
children of lima, peru.
What we do is, we receive
children whose parents
Cannot afford medical care.
If the conditions in the home
are not such
The children
can be adequately cared for
As an outpatient,
Then the children
come in to the home,
And they stay with us
until they're well,
And then we send them back
to their families.
I went to india on a vacation
with several colleagues.
We landed in calcutta
and were simply appalled
By the poverty that we saw,
The horrendous conditions
of the children in the streets,
Some of whom had been mutilated by their
families, so that they could beg
And be more effective
as a beggar.
I was in charge of a neonatal
intensive care unit at emory,
And I contrasted
that with children
Who just needed basic needs
With the kids
that I was taking care of
Who were, you know,
getting the latest in care.
The idea sort of germinated,
"well, maybe...
"you know, you should be
doing something else
Rather than what
you're doing now,"
Because anybody could do
what I was doing at emory,
But not many people would be
doing what needed to be done
In places like india.
It took me about maybe a year,
year and a half
To make the final decision,
because it was a good job.
I loved what I was doing.
I was teaching fellows,
Residents, medical students.
I had a nice house
and a nice car.
So it took me a good while
to make the decision,
But then finally,
I decided, if I didn't do it,
Then I would regret it
for the rest of my life.
I didn't realize
some of the backgrounds
That some of the children had,
And it was quite hard to think
That these children
have been through this.
But to see them now,
they're so happy,
And they're
just such gorgeous children.
You kind of forget
these kids are even ill.
I mean, you kind of
forget that,
Oh, victor's
just got one leg.
That's the only limb
he has.
And he's using his foot
to eat and draw,
And you kind of forget that
that's not really normal to us.
Coming into it, you're just
thrown into it completely.
You're not, like, told anything,
And the first few days
we were tricked completely
By pretty much every child.
Not really doing anything
that special.
You're just kind of helping them
in their everyday lives.
Of course, most of the people,
they come here,
When they see how the children
are so happy,
Despite their infirmities,
I mean, they can't
understand it.
Just in February,
we were homeless
In the streets of new york city.
And it was, like, you know,
five degrees fahrenheit,
So it was, like, really cold.
And we slept
with the homeless people.
There was a community.
There was a...yes,
a community of homeless people.
So we slept with them.
We begged for food.
We begged for money.
We slept out in the streets,
you know, and...
Because we wanted to know
what it was like
To step in the shoe
of a homeless person,
To live their life
for a few days.
Through human beings in peru,
in new york city,
Wherever we go,
We try to find out
what life is
Through their experiences.
And you see her foot there.
When she came to us, it was
completely bent like that.
Couldn't have been
straightened up.
That's from
all the bad treatment
She got from her father.
I think she's been with us
about two years now, yeah,
About two year.
She's six,
six years old.
They come in. Sometimes they come in
with a diagnosis,
And sometimes they don't.
They're just ill and need a diagnosis.
So I sort of triage them here.
Very simple things
I can take care of here,
But if they need
subspecialty care,
I have to send them into lima.
Hurry up, because we're late.
We're late.
Do we have someone
in this car?
No, I'm going
in the front.
You got to go.
Everybody okay?
Isn't he supposed to stop,
that guy?
Yeah, he's supposed to stop.
You got the license plate?
Everybody doing all right
in here?
All right, see this?
You were too close.
That's it.
So we're all in agreement
That it was the white nissan
that totally cut us off.
He wants us to pay him.
He's not gonna get a dime,
man, a dime.
Just getting the kids
to the hospital
Is the main thing right now,
you know.
When you have those questions
in your head,
Whether your own father
doesn't love you or not,
That takes a different
toll on you.
You know,
life is completely different.
You know, you don't look
at the world so nice, you know?
The way I looked at my own home,
Being violent, aggressive,
and, you know, very abusive
Is the way I perceived
the world.
That's the way I perceived it.
And that the world was violent,
That the world was someone
that will stab...
You know, watch out for the ones
closest to you,
Because they'll stab you
in the back.
That's the way I saw the world,
Because I had my father
that was not so kind to us.
So when you have your own father
in your own home
Not loving you
the way a father should
And he's the one hurting you
And that's the one
you're supposed to love the most
And the one that is supposed
to love you the most,
I mean, a complete stranger,
You have no consideration
for whatsoever.
You know, someone could die
Right on the street
in front of you,
And, you know, it's like,
"yeah, whatever."
# moon river
# wider than a mile
# I'll be crossing you
in style #
# one day
# oh, dream maker
# you heartbreaker
# wherever you're going
# I'm going your way
# two drifters
# off to see the world
# there's such a lot of world
# to see
# we're after
# the same
# rainbow's end
# it's just around the bend
# my huckleberry friend
# moon river
# and me
Oh, my god.
They're gonna do
my little angel like that.
They're gonna have to bring her in.
Have to go find her.
Yo, willy, you know where
they put angela,
The little girl in the pink?
There she is.
That's it.
Her exercises
were for her fingers.
I'd say she's done.
Yeah, thank god.
No tears in this one,
It's tough to hear, you know,
with a girl...
With a little girl like that,
So innocent and so vulnerable,
And somebody
to take advantage of her
And abuse her
the way her father did.
I'm glad that
she's away from her father,
Somebody who was abusing
her like that,
And she was able
to find someplace
Where she's able to stay safe know,
and to move forward,
I mean, to get away
from that madness.
When she was born,
her father didn't want her,
Because he wanted to kill
the little one.
Many times, the mother find...
The mother,
when she comes home,
She found her nearly dead,
tied down.
We have volunteers here now,
This is their third time
with us.
They keep coming back.
It's a life-changing event.
They see children.
They come in quite ill.
They may even see
one of our children die.
And they contrast
what these children have
And what they've been through
with their own life experiences.
It's not what we gave them;
it's what they gave us,
Because they gave us
the reason to live.
Kind of felt with victor...
I don't know.
Just a little...just every day,
There's the same routine
that we do,
But that he...I don't know...
He's just like a little buddy.
Victor was abandoned
by his parents,
Because when he was born,
he didn't have any arms,
And he only had one good leg
and half a leg.
And it was the nuns
that brought him down here.
I think they found him.
You know,
he was really badly nourished
And just abandoned like that.
And the joy of living,
this is what the kids here have,
The joy of living,
Because they want to live,
So they don't mind
how painful it is,
As long as they get well
and be able to go home.
But then when she
came to us, well,
We did everything
we can for her.
And she's...she can have
a prosthesis afterwards,
And she'll be able to walk.
People need to learn
That people need to get
out of their...
Their little box,
kind of see the world
And realize what else
is out there,
How many other cultures
are out there,
And just...I don't know...
open their eyes a bit.
When you see children,
you know, I mean, it's great,
Because everything
that you know about life
And all the suffering,
all the pain
That you might be experiencing
even then,
It kind of reverts to how fresh,
you know,
And how precious innocence
can be.
The tears of one child,
of one innocent child,
The tears or a cry
That is bigger
than all universe together,
With its matter and antimatters
and multiverse stuff,
All multiverse...
Everything, to me,
is questioned
By the tear of suffering
in an innocent child.
So why that strong demand
for justice?
Where is it coming from?
I don't ask the question,
What is the meaning of life
or the purpose of anything?
I ask the question,
who are you?
In the west today,
Many young people do not have
a meaning
And purpose to their life.
Their looking to say,
does my life matter?
Do I have a unique contribution
to make?
Every human being
thinks about it,
Is looking for meaning.
They're looking for answers
To the most
elementary questions.
Who am I?
How did I get here?
What am I supposed to do?
Does it finally
make any difference?
In developing nations,
this is much more clear
For these young people.
While they may be in a direct
situation of conflict
Or insecurity,
for them, it's clear.
I need to survive.
I need to get an education.
I need to get a job,
because someone needs me,
And that someone
can be their family
Or their friend.
And in a larger way,
That person
or that entity who needs them
Is also their country.
And the more reflective
we are,
The more thoughtful we are,
The more questioning
and filled with wonder we are,
The larger and the more urgent
the questions become.
When you recognize
that you have a real mission,
An indispensable contribution
to make,
Then you embrace life,
You celebrate life
in a completely different way.
Many people today
are very aimless.
They don't really know
why they're here,
So they do what's necessary
to survive,
Pay the bills,
all the necessities.
You have to eat;
you have to sleep;
You have to shop.
But there's
no underlying passion.
Why am I really doing
all of this?
And this is
an extraordinary gift
And advantage that they have
Over many young people
in the west today
Who are told the opposite.
"you don't matter.
"there's a million people
waiting to replace you.
We can get someone to do
your job better for less money."
This translates, I think,
Into a cultural question
that we're facing,
Where many, many young
people today
Are saying, "I need
to experience in some sense
That my life matters."
The more mature person
is not the person
Who has
all the questions settled.
No, the mature person
is the person who enters
Ever more deeply,
ever farther and farther
And farther into the mystery
and into the wonder.
If life is not lived
at this level,
Then it is lived
at superficial level.
And then whoever
has the power
To control
your superficial levels
Will rule over you.
And the world
is out of kilter
Because people aren't allowed
to exercise their purpose,
Meet and pursue their purpose.
Sure, everyone has a purpose.
They're born to do it.
Have you ever had a moment
Where you feel like everything
is just right in the world?
Time stops,
and the stars are in line.
It was the first time
in a long time
I could feel peace in my heart.
Just like playing music,
Each of us has our musical note
that we have to play.
And if you know
that's your note,
Then no one can play that music.
The whole composition is waiting
for you to play your note.
There's a good reason
to wake up.
Everybody's on a journey,
Has been given a purpose for their life,
And they can fulfill that,
No matter what
their beginnings were.
People who were abandoned
by parents, you know,
And lived in orphanages
or lived in, even, abusive homes
Can go on to live
very full lives
That, because some parent
might feel like,
"I don't want the burden
of this child,"
The beginning
is just the beginning.
And then there's a long path
of development.
And where there's life,
there's hope.
So we experienced living
homeless in the concrete jungle
And the happiness
of the lost children of peru.
Our stories interested
mike especially,
Who was a freelance writer.
He told us he was planning
to research
A remote leper colony
across the ocean.
And matt was already
going with him.
So, thirsty
for our next adventure,
Cliff and I decided to join.
- Broken glasses.
- Broken sunglasses.
You don't know
what this means.
No, just one piece
was broken off.
It was on its way out.
When I hear "milano,"
I think of those cookies.
- Yeah.
- I haven't seen one cute girl yet.
You missed her.
She just walked by.
You know why they make you
wear your seat belt
When you go to sleep
on a plane, right?
You have to wear
your seat belt?
Yeah, you know why?
Yeah, maybe I will.
I'll get the explicit ones.
- Yeah, you'd look good in those.
- Dolce gabbana.
We're leaving?
Yeah, we're going.
All right.
Nothing could prepare us
for what was coming next.
In our culture,
life is always a treasure.
There cannot be anybody
without a father or a mother.
If your father dies,
we will give you a father.
The family will give you
a father.
If your mother dies,
The family will give you
a mother.
So there is always meaning
to life.
You always find something
or somebody to lean on
And feel fulfilled.
I think that this is also
at the root of the joy
That permeates our life.
Second fastest.
If they run after you...
They're the second fastest
animal on the planet on land.
I think the cheetah
is number one.
Right? Cheetah?
So my allergies are gonna
kick into overdrive.
I'm already sneezing.
These bugs were huge,
and I'm not a big bug guy.
Not into the bugs.
Stand in the center there
with all of them,
Conquer your fear of them.
That's what I realized.
They had a wingspan...
I don't know what.
They look like
small birds here.
Hold the door.
It smells really bad.
Oh, my gosh.
The flies are everywhere.
The flies are everywhere.
yeah, all right.
Okay, I just want to say
to the camera
That in second grade,
I had a teacher,
And her name was miss katsman.
And miss katsman got mad at me
Because I couldn't color
in the lines, okay?
And she told me that I wouldn't
amount to very much.
Well, miss katsman,
I just want to tell you,
Hi from africa,
and where are you?
You're still in the
elementary school.
To miss katsman.
Oh, I just got beaned
in the head with beans.
Free samples.
Get your free samples.
It's pretty cool, man.
I like this.
We got ourselves some swords.
We got a machete,
and it ain't for cooking.
Timber me.
- There's another one.
As a muslim, we believe
that the great thing
To have in this world
is to have god in your heart.
If you have god in your heart,
you have everything.
No material possession
can make you be greater
Than any other thing
than having god in your heart,
So as a muslim,
if you have a very strong faith,
You have everything
in the world.
Life is bigger
than what we see.
Think, all human beings
intuitively know that.
You know, there's more going on
than what I can see.
Even though you have
such great diversity
With how people have, you know,
related to god
And particularly
religious rituals
And how they develop so very
diversely throughout the planet,
But there is underlying
Some kind of sense
of the transcendent,
And man's desire and need to be
in relationship with that,
You know,
is not to be ignored.
I think it's very significant.
Well, today we're gonna be
doing some interviews
With people
who are dying of aids.
And on a personal level,
when I was nine,
My mom passed away of aids.
It's gonna be a little hard
for me, you know,
To actually speak to them,
Because I never had a chance,
you know,
To actually speak to my mom
before she passed away.
When I was younger,
I got my blood tested,
And it was the most horrifying
moment of my life.
And I'm hoping
that through them,
They'll find peace,
I'll find peace.
I still miss her.
It's never gonna change.
It never gets easier.
You can replace it
with anything you want,
But you can't replace
a mother's love.
Suffering is a journey
deeper into the heart of life.
You can't make
a superficial description
Of the meaning of life
As though it's oriented
around pleasure or beauty
Or, as I said earlier, fun.
It's obviously gonna be full of pathos,
Full of struggle,
And indeed, for many,
full of terrible suffering.
Even in the deepest suffering,
there is significance.
There is a meaningful process
of positive possibilities.
We have to recover
the language of humanity.
We cannot understand suffering
without it.
When we suffer with a friend,
that friendship is deepened.
When we suffer with a nation,
A great love for that nation
is developed.
There's this struggle in life
in every class of people.
It's part of life.
It's what we do with it
that matters.
Facing death every day,
you know,
How do you deal with it?
Because I never had a chance,
you know,
To actually speak to my mom
before she passed away.
What would be some words that
you would leave with your kids
To always remember you?
They should trust in god.
And to be...
to observe the rules of god.
They should walk according to...
When you walk according
to what god said...
God will let you prosper
in all that you do.
That will be the only thing
I will tell them.
I think the suffering
of the earth
Is only understandable
in the context
Of some kind of
a cosmic spiritual conflict.
There was this whole tradition
of lament
That the jewish tradition
still has
But we lost as a culture.
We don't know how to lament.
The bible is not
what's called a theodicy,
An explanation,
a rational explanation of evil.
It's a religion.
The crucifixion
was the culmination
Of the drama of suffering
and the drama of love.
Death and love brought together
at the crux point
Of all of history.
Where there's
your deepest suffering,
There's also always
an opportunity
For great compassion.
You know,
there is peace on earth,
But we have got to work for it.
It's not gonna
just be handed to us.
They got those who suffer
are leading the army to peace.
I didn't even know
leper colonies still existed.
What do I know about africa
and diseases?
Aids, that's the first thing
that comes to my mind,
Not a leper colony.
And here I find myself on my way
to visit a leper colony.
I didn't know what to expect
when I got there.
I had no idea
what I was going to see,
How repulsed I was going to be.
I really didn't know.
We find out that it's kind of
almost looked upon like a curse.
Your family and friends
kind of desert you,
And you're looked at
as an outcast.
And you're actually sent to live
in this colony
Almost like, you know...
Segregated from the rest
of the population.
They obviously don't live
normal lives,
So how do they cope with living?
Why do they bother getting up
in the morning?
Here this man is.
He tells me he's got no feet.
It's difficult
for him to walk.
He's been abandoned
by his family.
His son doesn't look at him
like his father anymore.
All these problems,
and he's explaining to me
That he's happy
because we're here.
I look at...
I look in the mirror.
I have a zit, you know.
In new york, people are gonna
look at you differently now,
Because they're gonna just focus
in on that one imperfection.
I go to this leper colony,
and I realize...
I'm introduced to people
who are missing fingers,
Missing legs,
missing their limbs.
They're slowly decaying,
And they're missing everything
on the outside.
But on the inside,
they have everything.
Whoever's watching
this is gonna see, you know,
One of these guys with no feet,
no hands, you know,
No teeth, you know,
blind in one eye,
And they're gonna go, "aww,"
or they're gonna go, "ooh,"
And they're gonna make
all these sound effects.
They're gonna look at this guy
like he's a monster.
I just hope that they don't miss
what he has to say.
I was born, my left arm
is shorter than my right arm.
No matter what people say,
no matter what people think,
People don't really know unless
you walk in somebody's shoes
What it is that they're feeling.
And then you go there;
I'm shaking people's hands
who are missing fingers,
And I don't even care.
You know why?
Because they're smiling.
They tell me I'm welcome.
You know, the ghanaian people,
They have an idea of what
true relationships are about.
They want to know
what's on the inside.
And it's not what's
on the outside that matters.
I mean, his mind-set
is the person,
The human person.
What is going on inside?
What is this person
really made up of?
It was a human relationship
that was starting to be formed
That was based on reality
That I had never
experienced before.
- You guys.
- He's a heavy guy.
Look at them all.
Here is innocence, purity.
Here is peaceful, love,
faith, family.
Family life here
is very important.
The african people know
how to live life.
We see life
more as a celebration.
We celebrate life.
I wasn't the same skin color
as them.
I wasn't the same culture
as them.
You know, there was
more differences
Than similarities, but the one
thing that united us
Was the humanity.
I was a human being,
And that's all that mattered
to these people.
They accepted me
because I was a human being.
And it's just a simple life.
You don't need the fancy car.
You don't need the big house.
They're happy.
No, over here is real.
By temperament, I think
that we are joyful people.
Despite economic problems,
we are happy people.
Our people value life.
Well, I made it this far
at 20 years old
With the people with...
you know, living life,
Meeting people,
getting to know them.
You know, because
I'm always concerned of
Who dislikes me,
who hates me
Or what people think about me
or how I feel
Or what people feel towards me.
Those who have both parents, it's...
They don't know.
They don't know that,
you know...
They will have, like...
You know, that they'll
just do certain things.
You know, they'll be strong
in certain situations,
And they'll do things.
And it's because they have that
backup love from their parents
That no matter what they do,
They know that they're still
gonna be loved, you know?
As of me,
on the opposite hand,
It's like I have to be cautious
of everything, you know,
Because I don't have
that backup love.
I don' know,
I have one end, you know.
And like, my mom...
like, I don't even know my mom.
You know, it's like, right now,
I'm going through a thing,
And it's like,
I don't even know it, you know?
As long as you have
both your parents loving you,
As long as you have
a strong home, household,
It's like
nothing else matters,
Because you already
have the love you want,
The love you need,
And that's
from both your parents.
It's great to have that backup,
to have that backup love,
To fall back on something,
you know,
To have a safe zone
where you can be safe.
And, you know, you can go
out there in the world
And get destroyed,
But then you can always come back
And rejuvenate
and to recuperate
And to get healing
back at your home
And that your parents
will always love you,
But I never had that,
you know?
The family is the project
of the human person.
The family is the space
in which human life begins,
In which human life
is nurtured and cherished,
In which an individual
first learns
What it is to be loved
by being loved,
What it is to have dignity
By having that dignity
extended to them.
The family stands as a very
unique institution worldwide.
All other institutions
are essentially there
To support the family.
# all day
# since your haircut
in the morning #
# you have looked
like a painting #
# even more than usual
That was really
drilled into us.
Everything was family,
extended family.
Community is where you
can find kind of where you fit.
By giving yourself,
you find yourself.
# seems to know
I miss my dad #
# and he smiles
through the limbs #
# we talk easily with him
# until the rain begins
# this is the brotherhood
of man #
# this is
the brotherhood of man #
# this is the brotherhood
of man #
In this sense,
I think the family is critical,
Because the family
not only forces but provides
This extraordinary place
which is our first experiences,
Which is our
strongest experiences,
And which has been
the environment
In which we have
come into the world
And first experienced ourselves
and the world.
# at the airport
on my suitcase #
# a girl traveling from Spain
# became my sudden friend
# though I did not learn
her name #
# and when the subway dimmed
# a stranger lit my way
# this is the brotherhood
of man #
# this is
the brotherhood of man #
# this is the brotherhood
of man #
# I never can say what I mean
# but you will understand
The family sets up boundaries
that are very different
From any other relationship
in the world.
Whether the family has been
a place of security
Or insecurity for us,
It is a place that we
continually have to turn to
To know who we are
and to, in fact,
Try to figure out
how to know these others.
I'd like to know
what's new in his life.
And I would love to tell him
what's new in my life.
You know, I'd love
to exchange that.
You know, I want
to share my life.
He is my father.
I respect him.
And you know what?
I still love him.
No gray hair.
How old are you, dad?
Well, I got it over here.
- Yeah, a little bit.
- A little bit.
I don't use nothing.
It's been ten years.
Yeah, ten years.
Ten years,
my little...
My little jeff.
Abooga boogoo.
Oh, man.
What do you do now?
I work at restaurant
right over here.
It's called manetta's,
Just living life.
I missed you, dad.
What do you mean?
I still love you,
you know?
I know.
It's all right, my son.
I do the best I can,
but that's a part of life.
Something happens, you see...
I'm running with your mother
how long?
21, 22 years ago.
I made it for 20 year.
No, I mean, dad,
I forgive you, you know?
Thank you, my son.
That's the life.
It's about
the human experience.
And it's about...
it's about the beauty of life,
Like, all the good things
in life.
No matter what you went through,
no matter what happened,
You know, no matter
what happens in life,
Like, life is still good.
Life is a gift.
My little jeff.
The breathtaking reality
Of a new, unrepeatable,
Unprecedented adventure
of a human life.
# you must remember this
# a kiss is still a kiss
# a sigh is just a sigh
# the fundamental things apply
# as time goes by
# and when two lovers woo
# they still say, "I love you"
# on that you can rely
# no matter what
the future brings #
# as time goes by
# moonlight and love songs
# never out of date
# hearts full of passion
# jealousy and hate
# woman needs man
# and man must have his mate
# that no one can deny
# it's still
the same old story #
# a fight for love and glory
# a case of do or die
# the world
will always welcome lovers #
# as time goes by
# the world
will always welcome lovers #
# as time
# goes by
# moon river
# wider than a mile
# I'll be crossing you
in style #
# one day
# oh, dream maker
# you heartbreaker
# wherever you're going
# I'm going your way
# two drifters
# off to see the world