Oct 2, 2013

New Web Videos! Videos Nuevos! WE OF THE SAYA Extras


These clips are part of a series of web videos that present stories related to the main theme of  WE OF THE SAYA. I hope you enjoy it, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Please comment on Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, or friend me at the AbNomad Media. I would love to keep in touch with you.
~
Estos clips son parte de una serie de videos del web que presentará hisotrias cortas relacionadas al tema principal de NOSOTROS LOS DE LA SAYA. Espero que les gusten, y me encantaría saber sus opiniónes! Por favor, opinan en Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, o agreganme como amiga en AbNomad Media. Me encantaría estar en contacto con ustedes.

hasta la próxima!
Sisa



WE OF THE SAYA: The Facebook Dilemma from AbNomad Media on Vimeo.


WE OF THE SAYA: The Proposition from AbNomad Media on Vimeo.


WE OF THE SAYA: The Obama Drum from AbNomad Media on Vimeo.

Jun 14, 2012

Our Kickstarter Campaign & The Real Issue
(versión en español sometido antes abajo)

The kickstarter link for the film is now active, and I'm in promotion mode!  We have 27 days left in our campaign, but I am confident that we will make our goal!

I want to give thanks to all who have donated and shared this kickstarter link so far. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to share "We of the Saya" with you.  It's a unique documentary project with a profound issue that I truly believe needs to have more public attention.  That issue is - recognizing the needs of invisible communities. 

Invisible communities exist on a global scale; whether it is an indigenous tribe in Brazil that has never had any outside human contact and is being threatened by outside development; exhausted factory workers in Bangladesh being exploited by corporations; or the increasing numbers of families falling into poverty in the United States as assistance programs are being cut.  All of these people and many others (including Afro-Latinos) are connected, because they share one similar trait -  they are ignored and marginalized by their own societies and governments.

Every country has a community that they don't give much attention to.  I chose to do a story about an invisible community in Bolivia, because it presented a rare case where the right conditions were created for an invisible community to rise up out of the shadows and be heard.  Therefore, not only is this a unique story, it also it has a positive outcome.

I truly believe that one of the purposes of a documentary is to shed light on issues that have not been explored before, and that's why a film like "We of the Saya" is so important.  This film is not solely a Black or Latino issue.....it's a HUMAN one.  With that said, I am really glad and humbled to have had the opportunity to share my experiences in an article featured on Latin America News Dispatch.  In this article, I unfortunately was not able to get into the global connections that I speak of here, but hopefully it is the first of many interviews where I can have the opportunity to share my experiences in Bolivia, and how this problem of invisibility is critical for many groups of people on a global scale.

Although I am very thankful to have this opportunity and also your support, there is still much to be done in completing the film.  I know that together we can make this a successful campaign so that we can get closer to making this film a reality! Please continue to contribute- not only your donations, but your thoughts and comments - and share the link!  In time, we'll get there!

in peace & respect,
Sisa


Nuestra Campaña de Kickstarter
y El Asunto Real
(english version submitted later above)

El enlace de Kickstarter para la película ya está activo, y estoy en el modo de promoción! Tenemos 27 días antes que se termine la campaña, pero tengo la confianza en que vamos lograr nuestra meta!


Quiero dar las gracias a todos los que 
hasta el momento han donado y compartido este enlace de kicksarter. Me siento bendecida por tener esta oportunidad para compartir "Nosotros los de la Saya" con ustedes. Es un proyecto documental único, con un tema profundo que realmente creo que necesita más atención del público. Y ese tema es - el reconocimiento de las necesidades de las comunidades invisibles.

Communidades invisibles existen al nivel mundial; siendo una tribu indígena en Brasil, que nunca ha tenido ningún contacto humano que está siendo amenazada por el desarrollo exterior; los trabajadores agotados en las fábricas de Bangladesh siendo explotada por las corporaciones; o el creciente número de familias 
en los Estados Unidos que están cayendo a la pobreza mientras que los programas de asistencia están siendo recortados. Todas estas personas y otras (incluyendo a los afro-latinos) están conectadas, ya que comparten una característica similar - son ignorados y marginados por sus propias sociedades y gobiernos.


Cada país tiene una comunidad donde no presta mucha atención. Decidí hacer una historia sobre una comunidad invisible en Bolivia, porque allí presentó un raro caso de la creación que las condiciones correctas para una comunidad invisible a levantarse para salir de las sombras y ser escuchados. Por lo tanto, es una historia única, y también tiene un resultado positivo.

Sinceramente, creo que uno de los objetivos del documental es arrojar luz sobre temas que no han sido explorados antes, y es por eso que una película como "Nosotros los de la Saya" es tan importante. Esta película no es sólo una cuestión del Negro o Latino ..... es una cuestión HUMANA. Dicho esto, estoy muy contenta y honrada de haber tenido la oportunidad de compartir mis experiencias en un artículo aparecido en el sitio web Latin America News Dispatch. En este artículo, desafortunadamente no pude tocar las conexiones globales que hablo ahora, pero espero que sea la primera de las muchas entrevistas donde yo pueda tener la oportunidad de compartir mis experiencias en Bolivia, y cómo este problema de invisibilidad es crítico para muchos grupos de personas a nivel mundial. 


Aunque me siento muy agradecida de tener esta oportunidad y también su apoyo, todavía hay mucho que hacer para terminar la película. Sé que juntos podemos hacer que esta sea una campaña exitosa para que podamos estar más y más cerca de hacer esta película en una realidad! Por favor sigan contribuyendo - no sólo con sus donaciones, pero también con sus pensamientos y comentarios - y que lo comparten el enlace! Vamos a llegar con tiempo!


con paz y respeto,

Sisa




May 8, 2012

Afro-Bolivians In and Out at Oruro’s Carnival
By Alejandro Fernández Gutiérrez
(versión en español sometido antes abajo)

Bolivia is a paradise of culture, ethnicities, and music. Oruro, located between La Paz and Chuquisaca at approximately 3710 meters above sea level, is the capital city of Folklore and celebration. Every year, Oruro during the carnival opens its door to celebrate culture, diversity, and folklore. In 2012 around 3,000 tourists visited Oruro during the Carnival according to the “Patria” a Bolivia newspaper. However, in 2003 for a very first time Oruro danced, heard, and enjoyed Saya. The sound of the drums and the powerful voices of Afro-Bolivian women told the world they are also Bolivia. That this dark skin color even though remains Africa, they are now in Bolivia and there they will stay.

In 2003 around 50 Afro-Bolivian men and women took a bus to Oruro. With two hours of trip from La Paz city to Oruro Afro-Bolivians prepared the songs, the rhythm and most important mentally. It was not going to be a surprise to meet people who would say, “These Negros must be from Brazil, Colombia, but not from Bolivia.” Others would say, “They must be African-Americans.” Yet among spectators early on the carnival people were saying, “I know Saya, I know they are from Yungas, but I never meet somebody,” or “I love her braids,” or “What a beautiful skin dark colors!” Then the carnival started, the heart of Bolivia started to beat. Women and men from all different part of the country and the world were in Oruro to see an x-ray of culture, tradition, and identity.

For a very first time Afro-Bolivians showed not only to non Afro-Bolivians, but also to the world that there is Blackness in Bolivia. The Afro-Bolivian community has existed segregated for more than 500 years. A culture and people that was invisible and voiceless among politicians, public policies, and non Afro-Bolivians. Although they face discrimination, exclusion, and marginalization from the Bolivian government, Afro-Bolivians smiled, danced, and enjoyed the carnival. During that day, more than any other, they felt proud of being Bolivians because they understood that they are part of a huge diversity that palpitates in Bolivia.

Since that day more positive things came along. People from the west and the south of the country were back to their cities remembering that in Bolivia there were African Descendents who wanted to stop being invisible and voiceless. Many non Afro-Bolivians contacted the Saya Movement through emails, phone calls, letters, and invitations to participate in other public spaces. They wanted to keep showing to Bolivia that Blackness is part of the Bolivian history and they must be recognized as part of Bolivia’s diversity.

This also was helpful for Afro-Bolivians to get together and unify their voices. The Afro-Bolivian organization became more visible and with a united voice, addressing the Bolivian government with songs like:

"Everywhere is Fruit"
Isidoro Belzu won the flag, he won the flag of the altar /
Everywhere is fruit, coffee and coca, where we live is called the Yungas /
From our culture we brought to Bolivian people the Saya 
© The Afro-Bolivian Community

With almost 10 years since that magnificent appearance at Oruro’s carnival, the Afro-Bolivian community has experienced some positive changes, but they are not enough. To my knowledge, Afro-Bolivians were not invited to dance in Oruro from 2004 to 2010, which is the year I left Bolivia. In the following two videos from youtube, you’ll notice that in 2011, Afro-Bolivians were behind the fence singing in the audience, perhaps because they were not invited to perform. Then in 2012, you’ll see that they were finally allowed to officially perform again in the procession.

Saya Afroboliviana Chijchipa - Carnaval de Oruro 2011

Carnaval de Oruro 2012: Saya Afro Boliviana
 

Of course, there are many gaps to cover and many things to do. Nevertheless, the music is still the same. The music that connects Afro-Bolivians with Africa continues.

Afrobolivianos Dentro y Fuera el Carnaval de Oruro
por Alejandro Fernández Gutiérrez
(english version submitted later above)

Bolivia es un paraíso cultural, étnico, y musical. Oruro, situado entre los departamentos de La Paz y Chuquisaca, aproximadamente a 3.710 metros sobre el nivel del mar, es la capital del Folklore y la celebración de la diversidad. Cada año, durante el Carnaval, Oruro abre sus puertas para celebrar la cultura, la diversidad, y el folklore. En el año 2012 durante el Carnaval alrededor de 3.000 turistas visitaron Oruro de acuerdo con la "Patria", un periódico de Bolivia.

Sin embargo, en el año 2003 por primer ves Oruro bailo, escucho y disfruto de la Saya Afroboliviana. El sonido de los tambores y las poderosas voces de las mujeres afros le dijeron al mundo que también son Bolivia. El color oscuro de su piel a pesar de que sigue recordándoles a África, ahora están en Bolivia y aquí se quedará.



En el año 2003 alrededor de 50 hombres y mujeres Afrobolivianos tomaron un bus a Oruro. Con dos horas de viaje desde La Paz a Oruro, Los Afrobolivianos prepararon sus canciones, ritmos, y lo más importante, mentalmente. No querían que fuera una sorpresa para los Afrobolivianos escuchar a la gente decir: "Ellos deben ser Negros de Brasil, Colombia, pero no creo de Bolivia?" Algún otro diría: "Deben ser Afroamericanos!" Sin embargo, entre los espectadores desde el principio del carnaval, la gente estaba diciendo, "Conozco la Saya, sé que son de los Yungas, pero nunca conocí a alguien" o "Me encantan sus trenzas", o "¡Qué hermosa es la piel oscura!" Entonces con este buen recibimiento comenzó el carnaval, y el corazón de Bolivia empezó a latir. Mujeres y hombres de todas partes del país y el mundo estaban en Oruro para ver una radiografía de la cultura, tradición e identidad Boliviana.



Por primera vez los Afrobolivianos al ritmo de los tambores mostraron no sólo a Bolivia, sino también al mundo, que hay Negritud mas abajo del ecuador.  La comunidad Afroboliviana es una cultura viva, que a pesar de haber sido segregada por más de 500 años, invisibles y sin voz ante los ojos de los políticos o políticas públicas, aun están en Bolivia. A pesar de la dura lucha contra la discriminación, exclusión, y marginalización, particularmente por parte del gobierno boliviano, los Afrobolivianos aquel día sonrieron, bailaron y disfrutaron del carnaval. Ese día, más que ningún otro, se sintieron orgullosos de ser bolivianos ya que sintieron parte de una gran diversidad que aun vive en Bolivia.



Desde ese día muchas cosas positivas pasaron para la comunidad Afroboliviana. La gente del oeste norte y el sur del país regresaron a sus ciudades recordando que en Bolivia todavía hay descendientes de africanos y quieren dejar de vivir invisibles y sin voz ante el gobierno y el país.

Muchos bolivianos se pusieron en contacto con la Saya Afroboliviana a través de correos electrónicos, llamadas telefónicas y cartas para invitarlos a participar en otros espacios públicos. Ellos querían seguir mostrando a Bolivia que la negritud es parte de la historia de Bolivia y que debe ser reconocida como parte de la diversidad Boliviana.

Para los Afrobolivianos esto también ayudo a unificar sus voces. La organización Afroboliviana fue más visible y con voz unida le cantaron canciones al gobierno boliviano como:



"Todo es de Fruta"
Isidoro Belzu bandera ganó, ganó la bandera del altar mayor /

Todo es de fruta, café y coca, el lugar donde vivimos se llama los Yungas /

Desde nuestra cultura hemos traído la saya pueblo boliviano

© Derechos de autor: Comunidad Saya Afroboliviana



Con casi 10 años desde la presencia de la saya en el carnaval de Oruro, los Afrobolivianos experimentaron algunos cambio positivos, pero no son suficientes. En mi experiencia personal, desde el 2004 hasta el 2010 (el año que deje Bolivia) la comunidad Afroboliviana no volvió hacer invitada al Carnaval de Oruro. En los siguientes dos videos de youtube, podrán notar que en 2011, los Afrobolivianos estaban detrás de la cercas tocando dentro el publico, tal vez porque no fueron invitados a tocar en el desfile. Luego en 2012, podrán ver que ya fueron invitados nuevamente.

Saya Afroboliviana Chijchipa - Carnaval de Oruro 2011


Carnaval de Oruro 2012: Saya Afro Boliviana
 

Por supuesto que hay muchas cosas por hacer. Sin embargo, la música sigue siendo la misma. La música que conecta a los Afrobolivianos con el África continua.

Apr 23, 2012

"This Woman's Work"
By Alejandro Fernández Gutiérrez
(versión en español sometido antes abajo)

Some imagine that this world was made and created for only men. Yet this thought not really true. I remember seeing a mural by José María Sert entitled “American Progress and Time” in the General Electric building at Rockerfeller Center in New York City. The mural has text which says, “Man labouring painfully with his own hands; living precariously and adventurously with courage, fortitude and the indomitable will to survive.” It reflects a period of time where women did not have any rights or a voice of hope, but they were and are as important as men. One thing that I strongly remembered when I read that text was my mom’s hands. Those hands that always reminded me of work, work, and more work.


With her big, hard, black and beautiful hands my mom worked as a single mother to survive. From preparing food to washing clothes every day, many women in this world work day and night. Many Afro-Bolivian women wake up early in the morning to prepare breakfast and lunch for the long work day. By 7:30 AM they are ready to harvest coca leaves, coffee, oranges, potato, tomato, and rice all by hand. For about 10 hours a day in all kinds of weather, they are on their feet using their hands to harvest their crops to bring food home to their families.



In the Yungas, partly because of tradition and also lack of money, houses are not always made of brick and cement. Women and men work very hard to build their small “adobe” houses. In a process of 20 to 30 days, they build a small house with only one room. In ten hours of hard work per day, both women and men prepare natural materials, which includes soil, water and straw, taking care of not harming the environment. They put the soil mixture in molds to be dried by the sun and after a day the adobe bricks are ready to be used. When the walls are built they will paint and decorate them all by hand.   



At nighttime, when I was little, I would feel a gentle yet hard caress by my mom on my back. It reminded me that her hands have been used to collect our food. I put my head on her legs and she gently pats me.  I saw my mom using hand cream only a few times. I asked her why she did not like to use it. She only answered, “my hands are in hot and cold water every day. I need to use my hands and they are not just to look nice and beautiful. My hands are the reason that you have food to eat, a place to sleep and shelter to live.” We do not really understand our hands as a valuable resource until we lose them. I understood that using their hands was essential for many Afro-Bolivian women who have survived the difficulties of life.