Jay was the man with the questions and the only one who could really covey what those interviews were like, so I asked him to write a little about the session from his eyes---
>>>>>Today was intense. From the beginning of this whole project I knew that for the first trip I wanted to capture testimonials from the volunteers but also the community that we impact. Today we filmed four of the the staff members of the Colegio where we have been volunteering. Aurora, Juana, Maria and Nelson. We set the scene up in a room that is currently ready for construction but had the exact feel for what we wanted everyone to see. The backdrop to the shot was a well worn hand painted picture of kids playing and the name of the school was written on the top of the wall. The pealing paint and the faded colors was exactly the vibe that I was trying to portray.
Zach set up the whole scene. Moving tables trying a couple different angles and just making sure would come out perfect. Bill manned the second camera angle and I was the interviewer. I was obviously conducting this interview in Spanish so I had to make it clear that when I ask a question, the answer must be answered with the question first because my voice would not be part of the final product. The pressure was really on me here because if the answer wasn’t answered correctly, Zach was not able to intervene because of the language barrier.
We started with Juana. She is a 60 something year old who has dedicated her life to cooking for the kids and taking care of any extra administrative responsibilities that arise. Her interview went well. She expressed that there our presence there was a huge help and that we give hope to everyone there that the future, with our help and the help of other volunteers, will be bright. Then we moved on to Maria, she is a teacher for the infant classes and while the school is on vacation she teaches cosmetology. She was the teacher that worked with the kids when they painted the volunteers nails and did their hair. She was very grateful for our assistance.
The intense interview. It was time for Aurora. At first she came off a little nervous, like everyone else. They had never had an experience like this before. Expensive cameras all over the place,tripods, iPhones and a mic that she had to slip up her shirt and have Zach re-adjust so that it was perfect. We started off with her name and what she does here at Vida y Esperanza. Then came the question that made today what it was. “Cuentame un poco de porque has escogido hacer este trabajo”. (Tell me a little bit about why you have chosen this for your work). What came after this question is still somewhat of a blur because her answer was just so surreal and emotional. She explained how at the age of three she was abandoned and she never wants what she went through to happen to other children, ever. At this point she began to tear up. I am an extremely sensitive person, for those who know me you know it doesn’t take much for me to get emotional. After she finished the last question, I looked at her and just said “ok…muchas gracias”.
Zach quickly removed her mic and I walked over to hug her. She stood up and wiped her tears. Zach and Bill came over and kind of formed a small circle around us. There we stood in a circle with sounds of children playing and speaking Spanish in the background. She thanked us again and said, in Spanish, “you guys are so lucky to have been born where you were born. You had a hug when you needed one, you had food when you were hungry and you did not go without. You guys took time out of your fulfilled lives to give us hope. Just know that you are always welcome here. When I say here I am not referring to my school, I am referring to Peru as a whole. If you come back, that is great but I just hope you continue to spread the love and help here that we as a country need".
At this point she is tearing up again and the domino effect begins. I start to cry, then Zach and then Bill. All four of us are in a small circle with zero ability to hold ourselves together. We all kind of take our moments in our own little areas and then regroup. We all exchange hugs. Aurora steps back and puts her hands together in front of her chest…so we follow. From there she sweeps them out and up into a huge circle while breathing deep and finishes the circle back at her chest. She repeats this four times and we follow. It was a moment I will never forget. Again she says thanks us.
This moment for Zach, Bill and I was one that we will never forget. These are the kinds of moments that you have that inspire you to do this kind of thing. To have someone sit across from you and tell you that they believe you are sent for a higher power. It was intense.
We had our last interview with Nelson, Auroras son, and he had some amazing things to say as well about what kind of impact we were having. We were emotionally overflowing with feelings. I would say the highlight of the day was the moment where we were reassured that our presence in this Colegio was something they all believed was sent from a higher power and that, as Nelson put it, "Becuase of you, There is hope". >>>>>>>>>
THANK YOU JAY! To simply say our hosts made us feel loved and appreciated is an understatement for sure, but it's kind of hard to put into words what you see on thier faces and feel in thier hugs. They nailed thier interviews and I can't wait to see the finished product.
Phew it was quite the morning. We napped on our ride home :) But our naps were short because there was little traffic and as soon as we got back we ate lunch and began to recollect ourselves to head back out. Nelson came to join us at the hostel and we grabbed two cabs to meet Lisseth's parents at a shopping center right outside the center of Lima. The place was crazy with 3 fllors of everything you myself ever imagine. It reminded me of the flea market we alwasy go to when we visit my grandparents in florida; a mix of inside and open air hallways that are full of stalls organized by category: shoes, workoutclothes, watches, wallets, jewelry, leather goods, alpaca trinkets, games, baby items...e v e r y t h i n g. Bartering is expected and its way too easy to get lost. It's a bit overwhleming, (which is why Zach, Bill, Morgan and Lindsey opted to find the cervaza <thats beer> section and post up until our meeting time, and I opted to not let Lisseth, her parents, or Jay out of my site. Great choices all around team. I let Jay do some bartering on my behalf, and watched as the Conza-Berman tribe scored the kiddos some wonderful new toys for fairer-than-listed prices. Success.
We taxied away from the crazy mall to the minimally less crazy shops of center lima. We all went a little loco ourselves gathering gifts and souvenirs since we probably won't have time for another shopping day before MACHU PICCHU! (thats the ginormous historical land of alpaca and ruins that just happnes to be one of the seven wonders of the world, in case you forgot).
It was such a long day I don't even remember what we had for dinner. And since everyone is already in bed as I finish typing this, I'll have to leave you (and myslelf) wondering.
...until tomorrow xo