Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Monday, 22 November 2010
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Saturday, 20 November 2010
We finally managed to get the point of view shot we were looking for. It took a few tries but we got it. The first time Ernesto set off all was good, except the friction caused by the cable made the camera zoom in, which messed up the focus and overall quality. So we taped down the zoom, the focus, and exposure. We also taped a bottle cop over the record button to make sure there was no chance of it getting touched accidentally. There was absolutely no way it could get messed up again. On our third try today it worked. I have to say the shot was worth all the effort. We did one from his perspective, looking forward, one looking down, so you can see the trees and river beneath, one to the side, and then one looking at him. They are incredible. We played the footage back to Ernesto and asked him if what he saw looked anything like what he sees when he crosses over. 'Exactamente,' he said. So for myself, and for people who watch this film, this is as close as we will get to crossing the cable.
Friday, 19 November 2010
Thursday, 18 November 2010
We decided not to stay on the other side of the mountain after all. Fabio’s father alerted us to the fact that there might still be rebels lurking around there. And this was echoed by a soldier as well. Ten years ago rebels ruled the area. They waited along the roads and would randomly kidnap people or even kill them. Those they kidnapped would be brought into the jungle, where they would be forced to walk for days at a time to avoid being traced. There hasn’t been much rebel activity for some time and that is enforced through a very strong presence from the soldiers monitoring the area. The soldiers can be seen everywhere, holding large machine guns. And now I understand why. They are friends of the community and are the main reason why the rebels have stopped. Any time one of the soldiers drops by Nelly will offer them a slice of mango, or a piece of fruit, a glass of water. Everyone wants them on their side. And one of those soldiers told us that to stay over would be way too risky. He told us we would practically be sitting ducks if we stayed over there. We would be trapped with no way off because it is impossible to walk across at night, and there is no way I am going on that cable.
So instead we walked across once again. But while we won’t go on the cable we decided that our equipment should at least enjoy the ride. If those guys can bring huge sacks of rice and other cargo, we figured bringing over a camera bag and tripod should be a piece of cake. I'm sure our insurers would be thrilled by this. But actually, we felt it was probably safer going that way than with us, up and down this slippery mountain. So we hitched it onto Ernesto and off he went. He came back about 30 minutes later and we were off. The walk today was much easier. I think we are getting used to it, and we were able to do it within an hour, which is pretty much the standard of the locals. When we arrived a class was already in session so we silently observed, filming them in action.
After that we followed Esteban and his Daniela, back to their farm, where their father Ruben was waiting. These are the two children that do use the cable. As far as I know as of right now they are the only two children. Their father is a very soft spoken man, who proudly showed us around his farm. He had two mules, chickens, and a whole range of other animals we didn’t have the chance to see. He told us that the cable was safe and that is why he allowed his children to use it. But he also spoke of the frustration of not having an alternative mode of transport.
The community has been waiting on a tereferico (basket) for some time but the government has not gotten their act together to deliver on this. The basket would make travelling along it much safer. I learned also that the cable was never meant for a human. It was first used in the 1800s when woodsman were working the land. They needed an easy way to get the wood transported back to the other side of the mountain. So they devised the cable. Eventually people started using it too as it was just way more practical. Now it has become their way of life. It is part of who they are. It is a real shame though that they must risk their lives like this because the government refuses to help them. We have pencilled in an interview with the local mayor on Monday. Hopefully he will answer this question.
Tomorrow, we will be returning to the other side of the mountain once again to see Esteban and Daniela, and venture a little deeper into their farm. After that we will cross over with Deisy and her two daughters. She has never allowed her daughters to cross the cable out of fear it will snap. So they always walk. But Deisy is also 8 and a half months pregnant. I cannot imagine how she can possibly make that journey to the other side in her condition. If two healthy men of 30 can barely do it, how can she? Anyway, will write more tomorrow.