Nov 152013

Wilker Flores

A friend sent me a link to the story that I’m about to summarize. I thought it was inspirational. Maybe you will, too.

It’s about an orphanage in the war-ravaged town of Huambo in the Republic of Angola, a country in southern Africa. After a decimating 30-year civil war that ended in 2002, Angola was left with among the worst standards of living, life expectancy rates, and infant mortality rates in the world. The orphanage (named Okutiuka) is run in a bombed-out milk factory by a young woman, a native of Huambo, named Sonia Ferreira and her boyfriend Wilker Flores. According to the article I’m summarizing, “The Okutiuka orphanage isn’t funded by the government, and subsists on private donations and a mix of embassy-gifted funds.”

Apart from caring for more than 50 orphaned and abandoned children in Huambo, Ferreira and Flores are the ringleaders of an ongoing effort to encourage and promote heavy metal as a vehicle for young musicians throughout Angola to give voice to the pain and deprivation their country experienced over the last 3 decades. Against tremendous odds, they helped organize the first national rock and metal festival in 2011 and have continued it each year since. And their story is now the subject of a documentary film entitled Death Metal Angola, which has already garnered a lot of critical praise.

The story of how the film came to be made is itself a fascinating one. It was directed by a Detroit native named Jeremy Xido, and here’s the description of how the project began and came to fruition: Continue reading »