Arriba los pobres del mundo

The last couple of days…I don’t even know how to describe.  My emotions have been about as consistent…as something really inconsistent. 

Yesterday was our first day shooting.  So we all loaded onto our fabulous Gringo bus (yes, that is actually what we call it. all day, everyday).  We drove down to Cienfuegos, met up with Pedro, and began.  At first it was really hard.  Everyone was trying to find their role and get a hang of things. 

Soon enough, that was accomplished.  Everyone stepped up and figured out where they were needed. 

*Air high five to everyone*

The techonology was a lot to take in, but the community was a whole other thing completely.  It was not what I was expecting.  

First of all, it was SO big.  We were walking around trying to get the feel of everything, and (don’t hold this against me) but I totally started to lose my breath.  However, to my defense, we were going up a lot of hills.  I’m just saying.

Secondly, to quote Aladdin, it was a whole new world.  There were dogs running all over and chickens just chillin in the street.  But it is a lot more than that.  It made me realize how perspective can change everything .  There were 2 main things I had to take a step back and try to figure out, because it was so different than what I was used to:

  1. We were standing by a gate, and a police car drove by.  The little boy next to me, probably about 6, said “It’s the police, we’re safe now.”  I have taken safety for granted.  When I see the police I have a terrible tendency of thinking about the speeding tickets they have given me.  (I mean what? I don’t speed).  He was so comforted by the police being there, and it was really touching to see.  His smile was priceless 🙂
  2. This one was really hard for me.  Cienfuegos used to be a town centered around sweatshops.  However, they were closed down because the companies using them found cheaper labor in China.  When the sweatshops closed down, it left a majority of the people with no way to support themselves or their families.  So, it has led to them going to the dump of Cienfuegos everyday and digging through garbage for scrap metal or anything they can sell to make it through another day.  I have never had any positive connotation with sweatshops.  But hearing about this situation from the people dealing with how it has impacted them made me have to reconsider how I view things.  Sweatshops are by no means ideal.  But compared to digging through garbage?  A whole community has sprung up ON the actual dump, because that is where they spend all of their time now.  It just really made me remember that perspective is everything, and that you can never assume anything.  You have to put yourself in others shoes.  If you only rely on your own experiences you will never fully understand another persons point of view.

So it was a huge day.  There was a lot going, and it was a lot to take in.  But it was incredable.  The people were AMAZING.  They were all smiles and just wanted to tell their story, and that is what we want to do.  We want to help them be understood.  Which, oh hey, brings me to my title.

When we were driving back to ILAC, I saw some graffiti on the wall.  Usually I say, “ohhh graffiti, bad bad graffiti.  tisk tisk.”  This one was a lot different.  It wasn’t fancy, it was just words.

Arriba los pobres del mundo”

Roughly translated, “Lift up the poor of the world”

I kept staring at it.  I tried sooooo hard to get it on film, but the bus was moving too fast 🙁

It just connected.  Lifting up the poor means helping them, but it means more than that.  It means understanding them.  And that is exactly what we are trying to do with this documentary.  We want to know their stories and their experiences, and tell them to anyone and everyone who is willing to listen. They are people, and we are people.  That is what it comes down to.  We’re in this together. 

It was a very moving day.

(I seem to have run out of space.  The description of today is in my next entry. On to part 2!)

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