Sisyphus Rides

Act I begins with a prologue that uses darkly stylized animation to tell the ancient myth of Sisyphus and how it connects with the story of Vince Vetro. As the prologue ends we see Vince training for his fast approaching Nicaraguan cycling excursion. The trip is intended to raise funds for The Lending Journey, an organization which provides micro loans to underprivileged women in Nicaragua.

While Act II follows the cycling excursion chronologically, it also looks back at Vince’s personal story in a nonlinear way. We see how his life has intersected with some of the women who have received loans from The Lending Journey. In a shanty town in San Benito, Yehaira tells of her fight for independence after being sold as a slave. In a corrugated metal hut in Managua, Yosenia describes how, after receiving a loan, she was able to rise from a life of abuse, drugs and prostitution. In the remote village of Montefresco, Yelba shows her ingenuity as she runs a successful business in the face of staggering obstacles. The telling of these stories unfolds against the boisterous, beautiful, often heartbreaking backdrop of the changing Nicaraguan landscape.

Act III concludes with an exploration of alternative criterion for judging success in International Development. It begins with the surprising revelation that The Lending Journey has had to close all operations in Nicaragua. The NGO has failed in its long term goal to become financially self-sustaining and Vince wrestles with the difficult decision to close the office in Managua. Despite the financial failure of The Lending Journey, the many successes of the women in Nicaragua remain undeniable. The film concludes with the idea that “softer things” like compassion, hope, and the slow development of simple relationships may be difficult for western business investors to measure, but they remain an important catalyst for real transformation in developing nations.

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