Woke up, had breakfast, enjoyed some cereal and the like, had some excellent coffee and then packed up to head into Cien Fuegos. We took the gringo bus (no Dominican would ride in one) and ended up next to the church where Pedro preaches. Our group was taken on a walking tour by Pedro, a very energetic old man who has been at work in Cien Fuegos since 1975. As we stood on the top of a hill overlooking the entirety of Cien Fuegos (dump included), Pedro told us the story of Cien Fuegos and how he was involved in fixing some of the problems.
I noticed an incredible amount of humanity in this place that was sprawled out around us. We had our technical difficulties but seeing how every person treated us and reacted to what we were doing was astounding. Such friendliness to people they had never met, seeing the “Americanos” walking around and saying hello and having children flock to us was unbelieveable. This is where I picked up a lot of my small talk in Spanish because otherwise one is going to have a heck of a time interacting with all of the people around.
After shooting and interviewing Pedro and other community members and walking through Cien Fuegos, we headed back to ILAC for a quick lunch and then headed back out to do some more. As part of the group was interviewing the next set of community members, Peter Freeze, Rachel Belsha and I headed out with Roberto (someone from Cien Fuegos and who works with Pedro) to take some B-roll of the school we had been past earlier. Peter worked at the school during the past semester and though he knew the way, but Roberto had other plans to take us on a back route to the school. After seeing Roberto’s house, taking a few sets of stairs, going up a number of back alleys, saying hello to numerous people sitting outside or working we ended up directly in front of Escuela Santa Lucia. Peter was impressed because he had never taken that route to school and I was blown away by the number of people that were around and more of the reactions to us. We got the video we needed and headed back to the church.
After the group at the church and soup kitchen next door had finished, it was decided that we needed to get at least a little bit of footage of the dump itself. Background on this was that the last group to go had not been able to get to the dump because the law had changed. We rode in the back of Kyle’s truck and Tim and Peter shot stills and I shot some video as well. It was an experience shooting video and intruding into people’s lives as they were just trying to survive. It was something I had trouble with but knew that if I did not shoot the video then I would not be able to tell the story as it should be told. It was a tough lesson to learn but it was good to experience. We headed back to ILAC for dinner and reflection and Kyle had us start to acknowledge some of the feelings and emotions that had come up during the tough day of shooting.