Sara’s Notebook

This non-fiction movie would make you feel as though your heart is in your hands. It delves into the dark side of human nature, deep into the Congo of Africa. It shows you how much journalists risk their lives for a story and how much danger someone is willing to put themselves in while searching for their loved one. Sara was a medical doctor who would practice her skills in Africa regularly. She had a father who suffered from Alzheimer’s and a sister Laura, who was a lawyer in Madrid. Sara disappeared for 2 years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) when she turned up in a photo taken by a journalist, setting the scene for this political thriller.

Laura, determined to find her sister, travels to Uganda and was given Sara’s Notebook by a foreign aid worker who worked with Sara. Laura met up with another aid worker who agreed to retrieve Sara from the DRC in exchange for money, which resulted in Laura selling off her wealth. She agreed but insisted that she must be part of the search crew. The aid worker, Sergio, suspiciously agreed to the condition but later called Sara with an excuse that there was an issue with the transportation and she can follow later with his crew. Laura, using her smart wit, discovered that Sergio was being dishonest, took back her money and enrolled the help of a friend of Sara’s called Sven.

Upon reaching the DRC via a light aircraft, the airplane flagger or air traffic controller for a more appropriate term, risked his life to alert the pilots that there was danger on the ground. On pulling the aircraft upward, the rebel group on the ground began shooting, striking Sven in the foot. Back in Uganda, Sven and Laura sought the help of Jamir, a native of the Congo and a former child soldier. Unwilling to come to their aid at first, Jamir refused at first, but admired Laura’s courage and joined her on her journey.

It must be noted here that Laura spoke Spanish in a country where it was not a first language of anyone, except maybe a United Nations (UN) employee. Jamir claimed to have learned Spanish from Sara and this is what he and Laura used to communicate. They successfully entered the Congo via boat and after Laura used money to bribe the Immigration officers to let Jamir through. A series of violent occurrences ensued, showcasing how rebels would descend on the community, rape its women, murder the adults and kidnap the children, even forcing the children to shoot and kill their own parents. The heart wrenching ordeals continued, all the way until Sara could have safely left the Congo with her sister.

Sara, believing that she could do more to change the situation in the Congo, choose to stay where she eventually died and was buried. While the movie may have been an over dramatization of the real events, it touches on actual barbaric acts and conflict that still exists in Africa.