Today was new, even for me after spending 4 months here in this country, and even more specifically, here in this neighborhood. Today I walked up the same couple of dirt roads to get to the school on top of the hill named Santa Lucia, the same school that I walked to 2 days a week for 4 months. But something was different this time, it was not me or them, nothing had changed, it was the experience I had that was different.
For 4 months I walked up those roads and up that hill and maybe waved or said hello, but I never once held a conversation with any of the people that stood in their houses or stood on the street to look at us as we passed them. Everyone that we encountered was willing to help us today with filming the people of Cien Fuegos and their lives.
Our first stop was at a firehouse, the only one in Cien Fuegos. It serves 125,000 people with a staff of 17 that run on two 24-hour shifts. After taking some footage and stills outside the firehouse we were welcomed inside by the captain who was proud to show us his station. He and his brigade that work one of the two 24 hour shifts posed for pictures for us.
Along the way there were many more stops, none quite as memorable as stopping and listening to Alfonso sing and play the guitar. He had a wonderful voice and was a great guitarist. We happened upon him and were just hoping to get a 30 second clip of him maybe strumming the guitar, but he played for about 3 minutes for us and we were all blown away.
All of these people and places that we stopped today were on my way to the school that I went to for 4 months, but now I feel more connected to the area because I know the people on the way to the school, I know more about the community that I served and I feel like now I can tell their story and am very excited to get working on putting together the footage.