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July 23, 2010
Zona Reyna, Lancetillo
I am sitting in an open salon of some one hundred young indigenous children watching “La Isla” quietly and attentively after having finished their hot chocolate and sweet biscuits on a Friday night in Zona Reyna, El Quiche. Not a single whisper escapes in the group as they stare intently at the Guatemalan army marching sequences and footage of the National Police Archives being recovered and the testimonies from family members of the disappearances of their family members. The crickets’ song fill the night and every once in a while the iron of a desk scrapes against the cement floor of this Catholic School. It’s cool and humid outside and I can hear the nuns in the kitchen. It reminds me of my own childhood growing up with the nuns in the United States, in a world so different than the world my family had immigrated from in Guatemala.
During the chocolate intermission break I tell them to line up against the back of the salon for a group picture. They all rush back quickly and obediently and I find myself staring at them, feeling a wave of peace.
The four hour drive from Uspantan to Zona Reyna in Lancetillo, El Quiche was the roughest terrain of Guatemalan terreceria, graded road, full of deep holes, steep switchbacks and sudden drop offs to plummeting heights where the fog rolled over the tops of the Cuchumatanes and the tree line thousands of feet below. We pass young girls carrying heavy loads of wood on their heads, children peaking out from the bottom of windows, older men with their shirts off, galoshes over there pants chatting to one another while draped along door frames. It’s late day now and we did not anticipate the terrain would take all of us to maneuver. There’s no turning back, we’re here to train a large group of young indigenous people how to tell their stories using photo and video. The result of an entire day of reporting and production resulted in these:
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