Stories, We’ve All Got ‘Em

I went to Mexico for 5 days at the end of October 2012, but I find that the experience of the trip lives on with me even now.

I had the honor of traveling with the Florida division to film new promotional footage for the Children’s Homes in Mexico.

The task was a daunting one, as I had never produced a promo piece quite like this before.  Everything was up to me and it was terrifying.  What if I didn’t ask the right questions?  What if my lighting was terrible, or my audio unusable?

The first day of shooting was definitely a day of trial and error.  But when I experienced the love the Children at the home in Cuernavaca had to give, my fears vanished.

Well, ok, they didn’t magically disappear, but they were overshadowed by something greater—relief.  And what I found relief in was that filming the kids was fun!  Sure, I was still nervous about the interviews, and whether or not the editing would be completed on time but overall, I realized that one couldn’t spend 5 better days on Earth than in the company of the beautiful children of Mexico.

(Children in Cuernavaca.  So either they weren’t ready for a pic, oooor they weren’t so happy to take a pic with me…no matter)

There were some challenges to being the trip videographer.  Namely, being behind the camera all day didn’t allow for a lot of one-on-one time with the kids.   But in the second home we went to, Puebla, we were asked to split up and sit with the children at lunch.  So I picked a spot at the back of the small dining hall and waited for kids to come sit with me.  Somehow or other, I got stuck at a table sans a translator and well, let’s just say my Spanish is not so good.  But the kids didn’t care.  They were asking me questions I didn’t quite catch, and I was baffling them with my strange words in response, but it didn’t matter.  What we all understood was the mutual love and respect around the table.

(Lunch at Puebla. Me trying really hard to understand what was being said)

That day at lunch I wasn’t the girl with the camera.  I was the girl who’d sing for them, the girl who really liked spaghetti, and the girl who seemed to like them even if she didn’t know what they were saying.  That’s all they needed to know.

(Me and Evelyn in Puebla.  We REALLY didn’t understand each other, but we didn’t care!)

(In Curenavaca. Filming a happy moment of Praise and Worship)

In making these promo videos for the Children’s Homes in Mexico, I wanted to bring that same level of love and respect to these precious stories as I was given at that lunch table in Puebla.  As such, I knew the stories entrusted to me had to be told with a level of dignity and joy, emphasizing not the desperate situations these kids enter the homes from, but rather the pure hope these homes represent.

Hopefully these videos help raise much needed funds.  That’s an important aspect of these videos and why they were commissioned in the first place.  But even more important that that, at least in my mind, is that I tell these stories well without compromising anyone’s dignity, and without misrepresenting the experience.  Because on our trips to the home, were weren’t overwhelmed by desolate facilities—in fact, we saw no such home that could be characterized in that way.

Instead, our team found beautiful homes brimming with dreams, joy, color, hope, and above all else: Love.  That’s the story I wanted to tell.  And hopefully it’s one that compels many to enter in and become part of this story themselves.

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