Follow me as I join "an extraordinary group of Americans who have sought the challenges that are unique to Peace Corps service: the opportunity to live in a different culture, to learn a new language, and to forge lasting relationships with the people of Peru and fellow Volunteers" (taken from the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook)
Thursday, August 15, 2013
How do you win* a Pulitzer Prize in journalism? By keeping calm and collected under pressure, and making sure that the camera is always rolling.
I think I've found my calling. Need evidence? Just check out this video I 'shot' (journalist talk). It happened out of the blue, but I was ready. When Dina came out of the house yelling "rata!!!!", I jumped into action. While others were screaming at the top of their lungs (Cate), I was making sure I had the correct f scale ( I think that's camera talk) and exposure setting for such a tough lighting situation. I know what you're thinking;" he's a real life hero!" (**) But, please, I was just doing my job.
Please note a few things:
1. In the first ten seconds you can see the situation I was in. Dina checking her hair as if it were on fire, and Cate's screams being heard in the distance (Cate's screams were simultaneously funny, ridiculous, and hard to tolerate).
2. At the 13 second mark I giggle as I see Yordan copying the adults.
3. 18 second mark, Cate demonstrates how this whole thing is going to play out.
4. 30 seconds, Dina yells "Hit it hard Cate, so it dies!" (yeah right!)
5. 36 seconds, I enter to see Roger's dad doing an amazing job as he has the rat cornered. Shortly after, Yeferson yells "take the broom!" as he throws it through the window.
6. 55 seconds. I show some skills as I film and pick up the broom at the same time. Cate, while at least 15 feet away from the rat, screams as Roger's dad grabs at it (meaning he's a lot closer than she was).
7. 1 minute and 4 seconds, the rat climbs the TV cable.
8. 1 minute and 10 seconds, Roger's dad turns and says something to me. I have no clue what he is saying, but I quickly assume it was something like "Gringo, get the gun! This is a big one!!".
9. 1 minute and 11 seconds, while processing the fact that I'm a PC volunteer and I'm not allowed to shoot guns, it dawns on me that Roger's dad was REALLY saying "Gringo, drop to the ground and play dead. He's blood thirsty and charging you!". I decide that it's most likely a false bluff, and decide to take a swing at the rat. I miss.
10. After the miss, my pride is hurt, and I decide to get serious. The rat, like a famous skunk, was good... but not that good. I shut the door, and decide that only one of us is getting out alive.
11. 1 minute and 26 seconds, the rat taunts me from a chair. Cate and I both whiff with our brooms.
12. 1 minute and 42 seconds. I scare Roger's dad by touching his hand with the broom. He probably thought it was another rat.
13. 2 minutes and 9 seconds, I hand Cate the camera and show no-fear.
14. 2 minutes and 29 seconds. Cate calmly alerts us to the rat's whereabouts.
15. 2 minutes and 41 seconds. Cate claims "He's looking at me!!"
16. 2 minutes and 52 seconds. I bluff hit the wall, scaring the rat towards Cate. Great move.
17. 2 minutes and 56 seconds. I trap the rat against the door with my broom. Cate calmly alerts the Roger's dad and keeps a steady hand on the camera.
18. 3 minutes and 3 seconds. Roger's dad grabs the rat with a potato bag, turns and shows Cate while asking me: "What do we do now?"
19. 3 minutes and 11 seconds. Cate sees the tail and looses her calm (she freaks).
20. We go outside.
GORE ALERT: We do kill the rat. Dina wouldn't have it any other way.
* having a good editor who knows how to spell correctly helps.
** Mr. Pachacamac was the real hero that day. Hats off to Papachi.