Back from El Salvador, overwhelmed, excited and exhausted.
Wow, what an amazing week. When John and I first started this project we had no idea what to expect. In fact after completing kickstarter in the Fall we debated a lot about the best way to start this project. Then about a month and a half ago I received an email from Pro-Busqeda telling me about the Day of The Disappeared in March. John and I weren’t sure what to expect but we knew we had to be there.
This week has been beyond anything either of us could have imagined. For 7 days, we met other disappeared youth and their families. We talked with government officials including the president of El Salvador and the first lady. We interviewed survivors from the war who told us personal stories of suffering and loss. It was an emotional roller coaster.
Amazingly despite all the terrible things that have happened to this country and its people there is still so much beauty. The strength and courage of the people who live here is unbelievable. While many remain skeptical about the possibility of long term change their view of what happened is remarkable.
I was floored when a survivor of one of the bloodiest massacres in all of Central America said to me: “Maybe I have suffered more than others, maybe other have suffered more than me but what’s important is finding the missing children.” This is coming from someone who as an 11 year old child witness his entire village wipe out and then was tortured by military forces. He is not bitter or angry. All he wants is for the disappeared to be found.
John and I know that the footage we got was special. These stories are truly amazing and deserve to be heard. Our initial reaction was to post the videos online, as soon as we got home, so you could see for yourself. However I’m not sure if this does the stories justice.
One thing I have learned from John is that the way you introduce people is important. We want to make sure everyone understands the significance of what was said and it is presented in the best way possible. This of course means sitting on the footage while we sort through it, clean it up and edit it.
Balancing the editorial process with the excitement we both have for getting these stories out there is hard. From the start we wanted this project to be as open and transparent as possible. All of our footage would be online right now if we thought it was the best way to approach the subject matter. As we work on the next steps we will be looking for creative ways to share our experiences and footage with you. I’m not sure what form that will take but we will let you know as soon as we can.
Lastly, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without your support we would not have been in El Salvador for this historical moment. As I said before the video we got was beyond what either of us could have imagined. We both feel like we are in a very, very, good position going forward. We are exploring many possible avenues and are excited to share them as they develop.
I can’t express what this means to myself, John, my family and to the people we talked to. You made it all possible.
Nelson & John