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Sharing the Story / Successful 'Reparando' Spring Tour

by Amelia Moore / Athentikos
 

Karla with Tita and other Guatemalans we met at the MI screening


 
“I want to show you my feet.” Karla, the bright, pretty mother, said after she shared her own personal story of being raised in Guatemala. I was already in tears and was slow to respond to her request as I was still processing the details of her past. Surreally, I followed her to a table where she sat down to take off her blue sporty shoes and socks. Slowly she uncovered her mangled feet revealing all the missing toes, the only evidence I could see of her tragic childhood.
This spring we organized an eleven-city ‘Reparando’ screening tour. Over 2,000 people passionate about Guatemala, social justice advocates, and those interested in documentaries or college film students attended these screenings. And at every screening, we met several Guatemalans living in the States. Each Guatemalan we met echoed a similar response, “Thank you for telling my story.” Many shared their own personal stories, their fear of places like La Limonada or encouraged us with their enthusiasm for their people. At first we were shocked to hear their real stories. But in retrospect, we should have expected it. That’s what ‘Reparando’ is about: a country devastated by a civil war, children loosing families, young people coming to the US for opportunity and people experiencing hope in the midst of overwhelming chaos.
On the last night of our screening tour, in Grand Rapids Michigan, Karla became the reality of that story to me. After the celebration reception following the theater screening, Karla came to meet me and through our conversation she began to tell me her broken past. At age 8, her home was bombed. Her father was a prominent leader in the army in their community and later learned that the event that night was to instill fear into their community. He was to be an example to all. She hid in a small bedroom as her father was called out. He was threatened by the gunmen, “Your life or your families’,” they shouted into the house. Karla heard her father hesitate and then walk out of the house. At that moment a grenade hit Karla’s body. After a breath of surreal silence, she recounted the burning sensation in her legs, her mother’s screaming and then nothing.
I had no response to her story at that moment. How was I suppose to respond to her story?
The Response
Those who view ‘Reparando’ share a similar experience. Many sit in silence overwhelmed with the reality that a country just south of us could have such a sad history. But don’t we all? Not that my own is as tragic as Karla’s or Shorty’s or Luis’. But history in itself is layered with struggle, hope, and restoration. In the midst of chaos hope and resolve and passion and determination are born. And that same spirit is birthed in viewers of ‘Reparando.’

Raleigh, NC Screening


Karla’s story birthed the same determination: after eight years growing up as a handicapped child, a mission team visited her village and offered her medical care back in the States to repair her wounded feet. At age 16, she left her family in Guatemala fearful as she had received countless unsuccessful surgeries in her country. But through the prayers of her determined mother, she remained hopeful that she would be healed. Restored. Repaired.
For the spring screening tour, we partnered with individuals and organizations that are passionately connected to Guatemala and serving others. The purpose of screenings was to organized large theater events to raise awareness and inspire response. While I didn’t attend all the screenings, I did have the opportunity to work directly with the event leaders. It was a privilege to hear about their desires to invest and work along side of people like Tita and Shorty. All the event leaders shared the same excitement in giving a voice to the voiceless through the film. And after wards they all shared of viewer’s positive feedback to respond in some way.
Additionally, Tita Evertz from the documentary was able to attend 7 of the events. (Read  her response to the trip here.) At the events, she humbly shared her heart and passion for La Limonada and encouraged people to find their own La Limonada in their local communities.

Tita sharing at the Sacramento Screening (with Tina, the event organizer)


Viewers also had the opportunity to respond through donations. Funds raised were used for the following projects:

  • Micro-finance Bakery project at Shorty’s Rehab Center
  • Tita’s Safe Home, Mi Casita with Lemonade International
  • Athentiko’s new film project
  • Calgary’s Streetlight (mobile drop-in for homeless youth in Canada)
  • Shorty’s Rehab Center in Guatemala
  • A High School Youth Mission Trip to Guatemala
  • Support for a Gang Chaplin in Guatemala City

My Response
Seeing the documentary, our work and our story, on the big screen is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I am humbled and giddy ever time I view it. And although it was extremely encouraging to share this project with so many people, the highlight of the tour for me was connecting with the viewers – sharing story and celebrating restoration together. My experience through the screening tour ended with a new friendship and a renewed passion to communicate truth through story. Karla did this for me as she told me, “I tell people, ‘My earthly father died for my life; and my heavenly father died for my life.’” I praise God for Karla. For her story, her passion and her joy. As we said good-bye, she told me that growing up she never thought she was beautiful because she had to drag herself around without the use of her feet. As I hugged her, I told her that that’s the furthest from the truth both physically and spiritually. She IS beautiful.
Share the story! You can respond by:

  • Hosting a house party or screening in your area as a fundraiser for your cause.
  • Be OUR voice! Post about ‘Reparando’ on your blog; like @Athentikos on facebook; tweet about #ReparandoMovie.
  • Going on a Vision Trip.
  • Volunteering in your community.
  • Telling us how YOU are responding the documentary!
  • Giving financially – Athentikos is currently raising funds for a new film project. We passionately believe in the power of visual communication to give voice to the voiceless and we rely on donations from viewers like you to continue these efforts to raise awareness and resources. Help us tell the next story!

Scott & Tita with the JBU group at the Arkansas Screening


And more photos of the screening tour in the previous post below…