Documentary Film Update
Tacho and Lourdes invested a lot of effort and prayer into the ministry to the migrant farm workers in recent weeks. There was much preparation in anticipation of making of the documentary film, “La Estancia,” that was to give people in the U.S. a glimpse into the daily life of a migrant farm worker working, and living in Baja, CA. Sur. It’s an event that has been years in the making. Doors were opened to film inside a camp called Don Juanito minutes from Vizcaino. It appeared that the local campo boss was giving permission for the film to be shot, and a small film crew traveled from the United States to begin filming the documentary in July of 2010.
Laura Vitale who created the non-profit organization ninosconcamaras (kids with cameras), came up with the original film concept and content. Her son Rick is a film maker from the Los Angeles area, and after much though and prayer he was brought on board to begin filming with the assistance of a sound man named Fletcher. Rita Smith has been ministering to women in various churches located in Southern California, and has been praying for years with Laura to raise awareness of the plight of the migrant farm worker in Baja Sur. Pastor Bill Walden of Cornerstone Ministries of Napa planted a church in Vizcaino over six years ago and Laura has been partnering with the local Pastor Tacho and his wife Lourdes, supported by Cornerstone, to help the migrant farm workers in the area.
Niño’s helps the migrant workers by providing donated, disposable cameras to the children, teaching them how to use them, and turning them lose to photograph their surroundings. The photos offer a glimpse into their unique way of living within the farming camps. The cameras are taken to the U.S. and developed into photo note cards, and – prints. These photos and cards are sold with the profits going to purchase rice and beans, food staples necessary to provide for the basic needs of the migrant families.
The ministry has it’s roots in Laura’s very first visit inside one of the camps accompanied by Lourdes. A woman who had been receiving new clothing had been discovered selling the items. When Lourdes questioned the woman as to why she had sold good, free clothing the woman burst into tears, explaining that the needs were so great in her family she had had to sell the clothes to buy food to eat. That started Laura, Lourdes, Rita and many others praying and seeking God for a way to help these farm workers break the downward spiral of the campo life. The farm workers work in an “enslaved” environment, so to speak, with long hours required and little pay received, and living in sub standard housing conditions behind fenced enclosures. Many would prefer to return to and live in their home State, but there is little work available in many parts of Mexico. The lack of education traps them into a vicious cycle of day-to-day basic survival.
It turned out that Laura and her team weren’t able to film onsite at the campo, but another opportunity arose to film at a local rancho. Film clips and more information will be released as announced. Please check out the ninos website at
It’s common that both parents have to work, so more often than not the children of migrant workers will spend part of the morning in a daycare situation with many other children of all ages, and few caregivers. The rest of their day they spend as they please. A few might begin keeping house early to help their parents. Many others live a dog eat dog life with “survival of the fittest” being the rule. They are not taught to be honest, or gentle, but to survive and dominate to make it in their day-to-day surroundings without parents to protect and instruct. It’s even more common that children as young as 10 or 11 years or younger to begin working in the fields alongside the adults with the parents pressuring them to leave school and begin earning a full-time living. It’s a way of life that can rob you of your childhood and your opportunity to better yourself through education. As soon as the children become workers they are surrounded by the influence of their elders and often encouraged to drink alcohol and participate in illicit activities as if they themselves were equals and adults.
There is much that can be done to aid the needy and the documentary, the non-profit organization ninosconcamaras and the local church are uniting in order to aid in relieving the plight of the migrant worker. The hope is that once that basic need of being fed is met the people’s hearts and minds will be opened and freed up to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ and begin a life walking with Him. Thank you for your continued support through prayers and donations. God bless you!
www.ninosconcamaras.com The release of the film at the Napa Valley film festival will offer an opportunity to raise awareness of the mistreatment of the migrant workers in Baja Sur, and perhaps offer assistance from those who are willing to provide humanitarian aid. Please keep in prayer those that are in need and those attempting to assist the needy. Their stories will be told within the framework of the film, but many people are prevented from sharing with outsiders the truth of their surroundings. As ministers of the Gospel who visit the camps often, we have been instructed to refrain from asking how much the people earn, at times barred from visiting the rooms they live in, and kept from seeing the fields where they work.