…Bethany is home on Spring Break and so Rob, Robbin and I watched a movie she had to watch for her Spanish class over Spring Break called Machuca.
Here’s a summary of the plot:
In 1973, in Santiago of Chile of the first socialist president democratically elected in a Latin-American country, President Salvador Allende, the principal of the Saint Patrick School, Father McEnroe (Ernesto Malbran) makes a trial of integration between students of the upper and lower classes. The bourgeois boy Gonzalo Infante (Matías Quer) and the boy from the slum Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mateluna) become great friends, while the conflicts on the streets leads Chile to the bloody and repressive military coup of General Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973, changing definitely their lives, their relationship and their country.
As I watched the movie it took me back to the time I lived in Bolivia (which was during this time in history). I was reminded of the instability of the government in Bolivia and also of the many times the government was overthrown. It wasn’t unusual to have soldiers patrolling our streets with scary looking guns. Or hearing shots fired out in the nights after curfew. Or to walk unsuspectingly through abandoned streets downtown that had just been tear-gassed – definitely not recommended! Or to have all the radio and television stations taken over by the political parties – regular programming would stop and the airwaves would be filled with political propaganda. The movie also followed the story line of the two boys discovering the difficulty that though they never thought that social class and political views would affect them that in the end the lines become drawn and loyalties remain with family and can interupt a friendship forever.
Today I am rarely touched by these types of things. Sometimes I feel very overwhelemed by the difference of living here in Colorado vs. the way things were in Bolivia growing up. Because I am an American, I didn’t have to suffer through the things my Bolivian friends suffered through – we always had a way out, returning to the U.S. if we needed too, my Bolivian friends didn’t. Watching this movie reminded me to be grateful for my life now in Colorado.
I’ve written and erased sentences several times now…to try to describe the conflict of dredging up memories from this time in my life and letting them meet my life today.
It’s difficult to explain – it was a lifetime ago, and yet watching movies like this brings it all back. I LOVED growing up in Bolivia – most of what I’ve written about it is filled with great memories – but some of what we went through was hard. Dealing with the political unrest was unsettling. One of my closest friends was the daughter of a Bolivian man who was very high up in politics there. During one government unrest period his wife and her little sister appeared at our door and his wife pleaded with my mom to take their daughter in to keep her safe. The family was having to flee to safety – their house had been overtaken by the other political party and their lives were at stake. She remained with us several weeks – we weren’t certain some of the time whether her family would return for her, but they did. I look back at it all now and it seems like a great novel you would read – but it was and is my life. It gave me a much broader world view and extreme compassion for those who still endure political terror every day.
The movie was a great reminder that it’s easy to take safety for granted – and also that the only real constant in my life has always been God. Through His Word and His ever-presence in my life, I have learned that I can always rest in Him, knowing He is and always will be in control of my life.
(If this post is confusing – it was hard to write -but needed to get these thoughts out of my head.)