Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 35
 
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
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Where the Local Meets the International: New Spanish-Language Show Airs on TV30

Dilshanie Perera

Princeton resident Sandra Jordan had been considering starting a Spanish-language television show for awhile, but it wasn’t until she met Adriana Morales that the dream became a reality. The two were introduced last year at Stuart Country Day School, where they both taught Spanish classes.

“I would always ask people whether they wanted to co-host a show … and Adriana was the first person who said yes,” Ms. Jordan joked.

Called “Perdidos en America,” which translates to “Lost in America,” the television show deals with the immigrant experience, and is filmed monthly at Princeton Community Television.

The name of the program comes from the feelings associated with moving to a different country, Ms. Jordan explained, saying “one way or the other, at least once, people feel lost, because everything — the bureaucracy, the weather, the food, the language — is not the same.”

Both Ms. Jordan and Ms. Morales, who emigrated to the United States in 1999 from Ecuador and Colombia, respectively, admit that the transition was difficult, despite the fact that both knew English, and had documents, as well as university degrees.

“You feel a little lost because your family isn’t here, and it’s too cold, and you think you know English, but there’s such a diversity of accents, so we wanted to put that into perspective in our show,” Ms. Jordan said.

Ms. Morales emphasized that they want to elicit “stories to inspire,” by having as their guests local residents, who originally hail from all over Central and South America.

One episode of “Perdidos” introduces veterinarian Jorge Guerrero, who is also an adjunct professor of parasitology at the University of Pennsylvania, describing his first experience in an American airport. Another features an interview with Dora Arias, who is the founder and executive director of Curémonos, an organization supporting Latina women with breast cancer.

The goals of the show are multifold. In addition to showcasing moving stories, Ms. Jordan and Ms. Morales want to educate people about organizations that help the Latino community, and to encourage people learning Spanish to watch the show as a way of practicing their language skills. Whether viewers are native or non-native Spanish speakers, perhaps the ultimate aim is “that we all learn and grow together.”

Community involvement is of paramount importance, and making connections among organizations and individuals is something that strengthens their show, Ms. Jordan remarked. When they began filming in May, the Taste of Mexico/El Sabor Mexicano restaurant at the Shopping Center agreed to be a sponsor, and guests have encouraged others to participate in the project.

With their purview constantly expanding, Ms. Jordan sees the program as having a bright future. “Our show is our community service. We have fun, but we’re also learning a lot,” she said.

Both are mothers of elementary school-aged children, and they want to get more children and parents involved in future episodes.

“We also want to get controversial,” Ms. Morales noted, explaining that they want to bring volatile issues that pertain to the Latino community to the fore, confronting the subject of being undocumented, among other things.

“Perdidos en America” airs every Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at noon on cable channel 30, or Verizon FiOS 45. Call Princeton Community Television at (609) 252-1963 with suggestions or to get involved, or e-mail info@princetontv.org.

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