Jul 25, 2010

As our last week of interviews ends...our experience is nowhere near ending...

This week, we finished interviews. All we have left is 2 1/2 more weeks of editing. This week, everyone wrote about whatever they wanted, so enjoy the variation!

This was our last week interviewing families. It is hard to believe that four weeks have come and gone so quickly. The sights I saw and the stories I heard were really moving, and I feel really honored that the families would share their stories with me. The working weeks were packed with smiles, laughs, and the more serious side of the stories. As I was going through my photos and videos yesterday, I smiled as I remembered the strawberry jello one family gave me and the various juices other families offered. My time in Medellin has really been special.

This last Tuesday was Colombia’s Independence Day and this year they are celebrating their bicentennial. The entire weekend the metro lines were a little longer and the traffic was a little thicker. Every year they shoot fireworks along the river and everyone goes outside to watch. This year for the fireworks show, we left at 3:30 to get a spot to see them from and waited until 7:45 for everything to start. It reminded me a lot of waiting in line for a Duke basketball game or concert tickets.

Cassidy: Despite the fact that Medellin is nestled in the Andes Mountains and is therefore infinitely closer to the heavens than Charlotte, NC, I have yet to see stars in Medellin. Perhaps it is because it rains on a daily basis. Every evening, beginning at about 5:30 pm, however, the hills begin to twinkle of a different accord. As darkness spreads over the mountains, thousands of tiny lights flicker on. Eventually, I am surrounded by walls of glowing spheres that extend into the cloudy sky. I call it the firefly effect. It is welcoming like a silent demonstration of solidarity, a united resistance against the shadows cast by the mountains.

There are different kinds of loneliness, and some cannot be remedied by this electric phenomenon. However, it is impossible to feel entirely alone when you are surrounded by lights in the dark.

Katrina: Over half way through our time here in Medellín, I can’t help but think about what I’ll miss about this place. On the twelfth floor of an apartment building, my room has a gorgeous view of the city. Though I won’t miss the sound of traffic outside, I’ll always remember the picturesque views of Medellín right outside my window. But I think what I’ll miss most, besides the people, are the pasteles de guayaba, warm guava pastries, or in my opinion, small pieces of heaven. For the past five weeks, the panadería in Carlos E has been a second home for us. When I told my parents that I had the best pasteles de guayaba here in Medellin, they laughed and expressed their doubts. A daily ritual, we go to the panadería and are greeted with familiar smiles and expressions that seem to say, “You’re here again?!” We don’t even have to order any more; they know exactly what we want. Needless to say, we will all be taking some pasteles home with us.