By Tim Saunders on
September has already turned into a busy month for actor Matt Damon, and has seen him hosting a major children’s gala event, attending a screening of the documentary he produced to bring awareness to H2O Africa, and now flying to Africa.
September 10 saw Damon and long time friend, Ben Affleck, traveling to Tanzania to learn about the aid work being carried out in the country.
“We’re just going to observe these programs,” said Damon, who visited Zambia on a similar trip in 2006. “Our job is just to be quiet and take notes and meet people and listen to peoples’ stories.”
The Academy Award winning actor and screenwriter also hoped to spend time in the troubled region of Darfur, but that part of the trip was cancelled due to increasing security alerts.
“I’m still open to going, and I hope to go,” said Damon, who has already raised over $10 million this year for the region with Don Cheadle, George Clooney and Brad Pitt. “There’s clearly an appetite back at home for what the issues are there, but also it’s a very complicated situation there… and it keeps changing.”
Damon also hosted the annual ONEXONE benefit gala on September 9, the night before flying to Tanzania. The event, held at the Four Seasons Centre For Performing Arts in Toronto, followed the actor’s appearance at a screening of Running The Sahara, a film he produced and narrated, and which hopes to gather support for clean water supply programs in Africa.
“I’ve seen solutions to these very real problems,” said the actor, referring to his work with the film, which screened as part of the Toronto Film Festival. “I’ve seen these things working, and it’s exciting for me.”
The OneXOne gala aimed to raise money to improve the lives of children in Canada and around the world. The event featured a performance by Shakira, and honored singer Wyclef Jean for his work in Haiti with the Yéle Haiti Foundation, as well as model Petra Nemcova, who was seriously injured in the devastating 2004 tsunami, and used her experience to raise funds for other tsunami survivors. Sarah Fergusson and actor Richard Gere were also honored.
“This event is so great, and it’s such a huge fundraiser,” said Matt Damon. “The people that show up… they’re there to make an impact.”
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are scheduled to remain in Africa for a week.
Copyright © 2007 Look to the Stars