Sister City Delegation To Show Video of Trip

Not many Cambridge residents get the chance to see their El Salvadoran sister city, San Jose las Flores.

But on Friday, they can experience the next best thing at the premiere of a video about last June's expedition.

The 30-minute video, titled "Building Peace in the Midst of War," features the experiences of a 14-member delegation from the Cambridge-El Salvador Sister City Project. The group--including local video producer Carol Yourman--traveled to San Jose las Flores in June 1987 to bring the village humanitarian aid.

Kennedy to Attend

The Sister City Project will show the video free of charge at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School from 7 to 9 p.m. The evening will also include Central American music, a photo exhibit, student presentations and refreshments. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-Mass.) and Cambridge Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci will attend.

The delegation, which included city representatives, social workers and church members, brought $12,000 worth of food, clothing and souvenirs to the village.

A prominent portion of the video recounts the delegation's frequent problems with the El Salvadoran government and army.

"Everyone on the delegation at different times felt that they could be killed," said Yourman. "You're in the middle of nowhere--all it takes is one soldier to get mad. You don't know what can happen."

Yourman also said she worried that the army would confiscate her tape. Earlier that year, she said the El Salvadoran army seized a Canadian delegation's audio tapes of interviews with villagers, forced the children of the village to identify the voices on the tape and then arrested the interviewees.

But this time, Yourman said, "I had absolutely no problem...I didn't look like a big journalist." She said she used a small Video-8 camera bought with funds raised for the trip.

The group featured in the video is the largest of six to have traveled to El Salvador from Cambridge.

Sister City Project director David Grosser said the group hoped to help rebuild San Jose las Flores, to use public opinion in North America to help safeguard human rights in El Salvador and "to facilitate citizen-to-citizen contact between people in El Salvador and the United States."

San Jose las Flores is one of several "repopulated" towns, meaning that the residents living there were forced to leave by the El Salvadoran army and later returned to rebuild their village.