La Limonada is a notorious slum in Guatemala. It is home to more than 60,000 people. La Limonada is a one mile gully, that used to be a natural ravine with a river running through. Fifty years ago, Guatemalans from rural villages fled to Guatemala City, and began squatting in the ravine to escape the violence of the civil war. La Limonada, which was once an escape from violence has now become notorious for its gangs and drugs. Bullet holes riddle the walls and alleys. La Limonada is divided roughly into ten barrios (neighborhoods), each controlled by a separate gang. The citizens are bound to the gang borders in fear of death. Citizens have much difficulty getting hired for jobs when employers find out where they live. In Guatemala City there is no respect for La Limonada and those who live there.
We met two wonderful, amazing, genuine people. A woman, named Tita, who is rising up above the fear and violence, crossing gang borders and building relationships in the slum. She has a heart for the people and all their trials. She has been working for seven years in La Limonada and started two schools. Since her presence in the community, gang violence has decreased.
The other Shorty. He is an ex gang member, now pastor and mentor to boys and men of all ages. He tries to prevent young boys from getting started in the gang life by providing mentorship and works all over Guatemala City in prisons, and slums encouraging men and boys to leave the gang life.
During our first day in La Limonada we followed Tita and Shorty thorough their daily life. We spent time at the schools, doing house visit, and just watching them love and listen to anyone around them. Our friend Gary, who we had met earlier that week joined us to do some filming. We filmed Tita and Shorty interacting in the neighborhood, and did some shots for the cover of the dvd packaging.
The following is a behind the scenes video of our wonderful day! (It's a little rough, but it does the job).