Our Work Does Not Go Unnoticed
In the past few weeks I have spent countless hours transcribing the interviews from the museum, researching outside information and designing the final brochure. I picked individual values for the colors of the design, spent hours selecting the proper words which both echoed the voices of the guides and at the same time were relevant to Americans. All the while I wasn’t even sure if the museum would like my work, or ever use it.
Friday was the moment of truth, I brought the design on my laptop down to the museum to ask for any edits. Although I was proud of what I had accomplished, I was nervous. I knew I couldn’t translate the words exactly in Spanish. I had picked them too specifically. Had I built enough trust with the guides for them to accept the information I wrote despite the fact that they would never really know what it says? I walked in and they greeted me. Everyone knew it was the day of the “charla” or informal workshop on how to use the new brochure. Seeing I was nervous, one of the men I had not even ever interviewed came up to me and said “Don’t worry you are one of us now.” With that all the nerves went away and I began my presentation. The director had some changes: add a black stripe here, make this picture bigger, add this sentence, et. cetra. But this didn’t bother me because the changes meant he was engaged. They all seemed to be. They all had questions and comments. They were just as invested in this brochure as I was. At the end there was one last question: “I understand your visiting the US next week, but when are you coming back?” I responded, “I don’t know when I’m coming back. I have to return to school and finish my studies and afterwards get a job. Hopefully one day I can come back and spend time in Leon again.” They qualified, “So you won’t be back in a week? Or a month? You won’t be back for a long time?” “Unfortunately that’s right. Why?” “We’ve grown so close. You could just stay with us. You’ve gotten to know us. You created something for us. And you’ve helped us,” he said, “You could just stay.” And with that my heart sank. Tears came to my eyes. In that moment, I knew my work had not gone unnoticed. I knew that time creating the brochure had not been wasted. I had not badgered them with interviews and questions. Instead, I had re-inspired a group of activists to continue their work, to tell their stories, to share their experiences. I had gained their trust and created a product which accentuated their strengths in a forum they had not yet broached. Best of all, I listened to incredible stories that I will never forget and forged friendships. “Well, maybe then you can at least call us,” he said, “to check in.” “I will. I promise.”