La Carpio is a place you will fall in love with at first sight. Well, maybe not everyone does, but I did. I thought it would be a brief flash of interest, like a short-lived crush. But I still love the place. I continue to see things that stick with me, images and stories that pierce deep into my heart and refuse to fade away. I believe La Carpio, and places like it, set God’s heart on fire with excitement and passion; at the same time they break it with pain and longing for reconciliation. And maybe that’s why He feels closer there.
A lot of the photographs and videos I post try to show images of the people, the places, and the interesting things that make La Carpio unique and special. There is so much beauty in the people and the culture of La Carpio: hard-working families, smiling, laughing kids, creative poets and acrobatic dancers, graffiti artists, and entrepreneurs. There is so much beauty, so much passion and excitement and love, so much hectic social activity that seems chaotic but when you look closer you realize people are organically bonding and growing in such a dynamic way.
So here’s my most recent video about La Carpio, once again highlighting the beauty, the color, the smiles, the familiar sights, the hard-working families, and the warmth that you feel if you take the time to get past all the negative stereotypes, and the very real fear and danger that exists there as well. The violence and instability are real, and frightening; but I choose to hope that the good is stronger and will win out.
Even as I write this entry now, it seems like the violence and exploitation is winning. It’s taken on dimensions too dark to speak about, too evil to name. But there’s a tiny chance. A small voice that’s spoken out, a small hope for healing and restoration has been spoken into the darkest crannies of the slum. And that’s the voice I’m listening to, and believing will win out in the end.
And as far as the video is concerned, these are the images, the celebrations, and the social coherence that I hope wins out. Set to another lyrical psalm by local rapper Douglas “Transformer” Contreras, this one asks a question: where are YOU going? And I punctuated it with a phrase from one of his other songs:
Viva donde viva la sangre de cristo es lo que valgo / No matter where I live it’s the blood of Christ that gives me value.