Marcos de San Marcos is a 30 minute documentary about a young man who discovers human dignity and brotherhood in a culture vastly different than his own. Set in Guatemala, the program captures the simple and enduring vitality of a people surrounded – but undaunted – by the turmoil of Central America.
Filmmaker Danny Boyd portrays the story of his friend from West Virginia, Peace Corps volunteer Mark Newbrough, who was assigned as agricultural and livestock extensionist to native farmers serving a large highland area. Dubbed Marcos by the Mayan Indian descedants, Newbrough is captured in day-to-day routines – working around his rustic hoome, hiking up mountains to vaccinate farm animals, marketing and greeting neighbors.
During the program Mark reflects on a variety of subjects ranging
from his problems in adjusting to a totally different culture to his feelings about world management. Acceptance into a new society did not come easily as many of the natives were not open to someone as culturally different as Newbrough, joining their community. But in time Mark became not only a trusted teacher but also a true friend.
Although civil strife was evident in Guatemala and Peace Corps volunteers have been recalled from the region now, the program deals with Mark’s relationship to the Indians and not with the
country’s political issues. The real beauty of the documentary evolves not from his accomplishments, which are substantial, but from his genuine humility. “Well, now that I’ve been here for two years and only have two months to go, I’ve been putting in a lot of time thinking about who’s got the best part of this deal – whether I’ve gotten more than I’m teaching. I know and I can see a lot of people are adopting some of the ideas that I’ve tried to instill upon them. But I can’t help but feel guilty that maybe I’ve gained more than them.”
The message is succinct: helping people is not a form of superiority; it is a form of love.