I first met Maria Ilse Lopez Quej last August in her modest home in Tampo Village in Northern Guatemala. She was sitting before a loom weaving a bright, beautiful huipil – a traditional Mayan blouse. She told me that each huipil takes three months to complete, a testament to the focus and passion that she dedicates to her work. Each huipil is more than a piece of clothing, it’s an intricate work of art.
In addition to being a skilled weaver, Ilse is a community leader in her village. She told me about the issues facing her community, including that most families still lacked access to any form of electricity. During our conversation, she was surrounded by her extended family including her grandson Anderson and his friend Areli.
Anderson and Areli live only a few hundred feet from each other but their lives could not be more different. Anderson’s family had access to solar energy while Areli’s family still relied on candles. Ilse described how their family’s solar system was improving Anderson’s life and giving him the chance to grow up with light, unlike her own childhood which was filled with darkness. After hearing her story, I felt compelled to share it with the world.
I’m honored to share Ilse’s story with you now through our virtual reality film ‘Amor de Abuela’ (‘A Grandmother’s Love’). The film was created with the support of Facebook and Oculus as part of their VR for Good program and screened at the Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals. It will also appear at the Festival de Cannes as part of the NextVR exhibit in May. As a virtual reality film, you’ll be able to travel to Guatemala without leaving your home. You’ll hear Ilse’s story of love and light just as I did, from her voice, in her home, and from her perspective.
You can watch ‘Amor de Abuela’ on your desktop computer on YouTube or Facebook using the latest version of the Chrome web browser or on your mobile phone using the YouTube or Facebook app. I encourage you to watch “Amor de Abuela” using a VR headset if you can to get the full experience. A link with instructions on how to do this is below.
Have a VR headset? Click here for instructions on how to watch the film.
Thanks to our generous donors, Areli’s family now has a solar system. I encourage you to share this beautiful story with your friends and family so we can change more lives.
Ben Bunker | CEO, Global BrightLight Foundation
P.S. You can also help spread the love by making a donation. Give from the heart now.