About this Item

The Turkana desert in northern Kenya is home for the Turkana people and their goats and camels. Four nuns from the Medical Missionaries of Mary are carrying out missionary work at the remote desert outpost of Lorugumu.

  • Title
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Con O'Keefe (Research)
    Peter Lemass (Interviewer)
    William Fitzgerald (Camera)
    Desmond Forristal (Script)
    Joseph Dunn (Production)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
    Radharc in Africa
  • Clip title
  • Extended description

    'Turkana' was the second programme in the series Radharc in Africa which looked at the work of Catholic missionaries in east Africa. In Turkana, northern Kenya, Father Peter Lemass reports on the work of the Medical Missionaries of Mary at Lorugumu.

    At Lorugumu, four nuns run a medical dispensary, a small hospital and a school. They bring aid to a desert region and people that have been devastated by famine. 

    Sister Bernadette Gilsenan from Rathgar in Dublin is responsible for the education of the children attending the mission school. 

    Sister Marie Bernard O'Brien from Castlemaine in Kerry qualified as a doctor at University College Dublin. She works with the sick in the region.

    Sister Campion Campbell from Ipswich in England trained as a nurse before becoming a nun. She is the superior of the little convent and matron of the hospital and dispensary at Lorugumu.

    Sister Michael Therese Ryan from Boston, trained as a surgical technician, is also a qualified pilot, known as the flying nun. She transports medical staff and supplies across huge distances in the desert around Lorugumu. 

    The women talk about their work in the Turkana region and the challenges brought by living in an area that suffers from famine and extremes of weather with drought, flash floods and mini hurricanes.

  • Information

    'Turkana' won the UNDA premier award at Monte Carlo in 1966 and was broadcast on the BBC, CBS Canada and in the USA, Belgium, West Germany, Holland and New Zealand.

    'Radharc', a series specialising in religious programming, was produced for RTÉ by Radharc, an independent production company run by Catholic priests and lay staff. 'Radharc' can be translated to English as 'view' or 'panorama'.

    Co-founders Fr Joe Dunn and Fr Desmond Forristal who had received training in television production in New York in 1959 gathered around them a team of like minded priests with creative talent.

    The 'Radharc' team made their first production in 1960 in Donegal, a short film about customs relating to St Brigid's Day. The first programme in the 'Radharc' series for RTÉ was broadcast on 12 January 1962.

    Between 1961 and 1996 the Radharc team would produce over 400 films in Ireland and 75 countries worldwide. The films dealt with human rights, injustice, faith, religion, persecution, struggles against oppressive regimes, famine, and Christian heritage.

    The popular series ended production in 1996 after the death of Fr Joe Dunn.

  • Local keywords
    Religion, Radharc, Missions, Catholic, Famine, Nuns, Priests, Desert
  • Geographical coverage
    Lorugumu, Turkana, Kenya, Africa
  • Topic
    Religion and Belief
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
    Telefís Éireann
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
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  • Item type
  • Item colour
    Black and White
  • Item sound
  • Aspect ratio
  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)