Furthest Possible Place: The Journey of Ana Maria Seifert
Directed by Martin Duckworth
A young, Bolivian
university student becomes concerned about the plight of impoverished
local Indians. Inspired by a priest from Quebec who has gone down to Bolivia
to work with them, Ana Maria takes up their cause politically to improve
their living conditions. At odds with the military government in control,
she is soon imprisoned for her work, and eventually exiled to "The
Furthest Possible Place." The documentary tells the story of Ana
Maria's life as a refugee in Montreal, and the grit and determination
she uses to get an education, raise her family, and find a profession
where she can continue to work for social equity and justice.
Health and Safety issues
- The importance
of community support
- Canada's recognition
of professional accreditation from other countries
- Coup d'etat
- Class system
- Political prisoner
- To appreciate
the supportive role of friends, family and community for immigrants/refugees
- To see how
perseverance and education are essential assets when starting a new
- To understand
what it's like to "become someone again."
- To learn about
the role of unions and the need to improve working conditions
- To understand
the difference between an immigrant and a refugee.
- Where is Bolivia,
and what is the make-up of its population?
- What happened
to Ana Maria's family that helped her develop compassion for people
less fortunate than herself?
- How did Ana
Maria first meet the Indians who looked after her in her youth?
- Who was the
Oblate Priest Maurice Le Fevre. Why was he killed?
- Why did Anna
Maria protest against the Bolivian government in her youth?
- What was prison
like for Ana Maria. What helped make it bearable for her?
- Why did one
Indian man believe that the young Ana Maria would "spit on me"
when she became older?
- Why do so
many immigrant/refugee women become domestic workers or chambermaids
- Why do you
think Ana Maria went into the field of occupational health and safety
for her profession?
- What did "The
furthest possible place" mean in Ana Maria Seifert's life?
When Ana Maria was in prison, she said they tried to break the spirit
of the prisoners, but "They didn't succeed because we would stick
together." Write an essay on the principle of "United we stand,
divided we fall." Use some examples where you have seen how collective
work can accomplish things that a single person can't.
2) Ana Maria lives in a housing co-op in Montreal with
thousands of other exiles from South America, like her. What do you think
are the positive aspects of living close to people from your own homeland
when you are in a new country. What are the down sides?
3) Ana Maria says of her experience as an exile: "You
have to reconstruct your history to find your identity. You have to become
someone again." Pretend you have been vocal about your disagreement
the way the government works and Canada, and that to stay alive, you have
been told you must go to "The furthest possible Place" to live.
Write a personal account of where you would go and how you would invent
a new life. Talk about the difficulties and problems you are facing, as
well as your hopes and dreams about your new future.
4) Anna Maria said "I think all immigrants/refugees
have guilt. We leave and are saved, and we feel guilty about what happens
to those left behind." Talk to people you know in your family or
community who have left their home country. Ask them if they have experienced
guilt like Anna Maria has, and write up your findings, including how the
people you spoke to have dealt with this guilt.
5) Anna Maria works with unions to help improve working
conditions in Montreal (and other places.) Research the history of the
union movement in Montreal, and explain why unions started up, what early
conditions were like, and what the health and safety issues are there
today for workers. Make sure you cover the garment industry in your research.