|Walking to the screening|
So, I have long wanted to come up here, but wasn't sure how I would manage it in terms of time, as my days are running out and the amount of unfinished work seems to be increasing. When Dania asked me to help arrange screenings, I contacted Noe and he told me that I needed to write directly to the organization, ADISMI, that sponsored the radio station, and within a few days I received a positive response. It took a little bit of juggling about the dates, as I had put out feelers to other people and it seemed at one point that everyone wanted the same days for the screenings. Although I could not go to all the screenings, I decided to select a few -- mostly in areas that I had wanted to visit but hadn't, and so Friday night found me driving like a bit of a maniac to get to San Marcos, where the Radio Universitaria FM (a community radio station run by the students at the Universidad de San Carlos) sponsored a screening in the Parque Central, the main plaza of the town. My plan was to arrive after the screening, as I had already seen the film, and hang out for the night and then accompany them to SMI.
|Anti-mining activists Noe and Javier|
The sound quality is uneven on the dubbed version and some parts are hard to hear (even I, who had seen it once before, had a hard time with a few parts), and since there were a lot of women with babies or young children, it became clear that we would have to cut out some parts. The children laughed a lot at the beginning -- there is a rapid-motion sequence in which the key protagonist of the film, a peasant farmer named Ignacio, builds a bicycle from spare parts in his house, and the children thought that was very funny. However, after about 40 minutes they were getting restless, and some of the mothers made movements as though to leave, so Matt fast forwarded to the end, and then we opened up for discussion.
|Javier (l) and Noe (r), activists with ADISMI|
At the end, Dania spoke in a very impassioned way, her eyes tearing up and her voice breaking, about the importance of the fight of indigenous communities to preserve their knowledge, agriculture, way of life, not just for themselves but for the entire country and all of humanity. She spoke as a Guatemalan who has lived for the last 12 years in the U.S., and someone who grew up in a family that identified as Ladino... but who is proud of her Maya roots (although those were largely obscured and never acknowledged). She received a rousing applause when she finished. And then we thanked everyone there (I went around and made individual thanks to as many people as I could, shaking hands or placing my hand on the person's arm or shoulder, in the manner that I have observed in highland communities), and packed up and made our way in the dark back to the car, and headed back to ADISMI's headquarters where the three of us were spending the night.