Getting to Chirjiox:
After arriving at 11:15 PM in Guatemala and a 3 hour drive to Pana, Drew was ready to leave on the chicken buses at 7:30 AM to meet the youth for the first time. The experience was unique for him and perhaps made him a little weary!
Entering the room for the first time, Drew took a chair and was introduced to the group. It took a few minutes for his Spanish to wake up. Drew is not a morning person! I was personally surprised that all the kids had made it this morning to meet Drew. I was told that only two of them would be there and the others we be there on Friday. It is hard to get the entire group here because of other commitments. But there they were ready to go.
Being without a translator that day was a bit difficult for us, but we seemed to accomplish a lot. We did this with the aid of our broken Spanish and with the help of our friendly ultralingus on the ipad.
The goal of this day was to film in the field with Drew.
I had envisioned that Drew would talk to them about storyboarding and shot lists, but instead he was anxious to get into the field. This actually aligns with my personal educational philosophy that learning takes place in context and skills are most readily remembered when they are embedded in meaningful activity. So today, we had to follow this.
Learning in context – learning visually without language contributed to the reason for taking this direct.
A week ago when I met with the group, I asked each of them to identify a location where they wanted to film. I asked them to schedule their interviews so that Drew could work side by side with them to capture the videos. Again, learning in and making adjustments in the moment would be a key to building artistic and documentary skills.
1. Abuelita (little grandmother)
Our first film location was at the grandmother of Marcos. He scheduled an interview with her at 10:00 AM. When we arrived, we found a family -grandmother, father, uncle, sister and husband, and a young child. Everyone was working: sorting, bagging, and crushing corn. Grandma, or Abuelita, was on the group wrapped in a colorful shawl. Carmen and Marcos were ready to sit her in a chair for the interview that Marco wanted. Drew and I discouraged this. This was an example of why being in the field was so important for us. We encouraged then to see what was in the scene and make their conversation with grandma was as natural and real as possible. Of course once the camera is in the location, it changes the “natural” or “authentic” moment.
2. Ovejas (Sheep)
With just a little filming today, the activity would greatly inform what we would do the next day. Drew and I recognized a great deal of what they were doing well and what we they still needed to learn. So off were when on another chicken bus… this time to Xela to stay and plan and then return to Chirijox for another day!