Lea

The film is about Lea. She loves her independence and eats life with a big spoon despite having a life-threatening condition. A decision to run a marathon goes horribly wrong forcing her to move back with her parents. She now has to navigate personal relationships and figure out ways to fight for a rural community that has been neglected for a very long time.

Lea Kilenga is a rare dynamo. Diagnosed with sickle cell at the age of 6 months she was told by doctors she would not live to see her teenage years. Now in her early-thirties, Lea is determined to prove her detractors wrong. To raise awareness about others like herself, she decides to run a marathon in November 2017. Always by her side is her brother Paul who has suspended his own ambitions to pursue photography to help his sister achieve her dreams. He joins her for the marathon, taking pictures along the way. She almost dies!

The experience leads her to a depression that forces her to move back in with her parents. Lea goes back to her village in Taita Taveta, Coast of Kenya. The village has many people suffering from her condition and she feels being closer to them will help her own sanity. After her arrival, there is tension with her parents because they expect her to be employed and thriving in the capital. They also expect that she would be dating or be married already.

In Taveta, Lea starts a community-based organization that brings together families and children with the disease. Things in the village don’t move quickly, the politics is different. Most of the people she is fighting for are also illiterate and despite initial success are highly sceptical of her motives. One of them is Albert Loghwaru, a charismatic, expressly talkative lanky man who has two children. His beliefs and those of Lea clash from time to time. She agitates for her members to get medical insurance and access medical services when sick yet she does not take drugs and does not go to the hospital but prefers to use medicinal herbs. This is a secret she guards deeply and is scared to reveal to others. Paul, on the other hand, is slowly becoming a professional photographer and dreams that one day his parents will appreciate his new found career as well as being a cover model.

The family and the community slowly warm up to Lea's work that makes them introspective to clashes of their own beliefs and cultures. She rallies them together to exchange ideas on the disease and speak with one voice. She traverses the whole county to look for her community members who have the ailment and Paul documents her journey through photography which he later intends to put up in a gallery. Paul lives and works in Nairobi however he would travel to Taveta to join her.

The story is a heart-warming affair in a small town in Kenya and seeks to inspire greater change in the world.

Status

In production

Production team