There’s something I had known for a while but which didn’t become obvious until our arrival in Sujeylin’s family home: they have no idea what life she leads in Managua. They don’t know she was sleeping in the streets and even less that she sniffed glue. I asked her about it today in our weekly interview and she said that she is afraid of rejection – by her family and mostly so by her mother. If however one has to pinpoint the overwhelming factor Sujeylin ended up where she is, it probably is her very own mother…
It is clear from being here that the family is and has always been very poor. Their home, their way of life, it’s so obvious. However, Sujeylin didn’t end up on the streets because of poverty, but rather because she was rejected by her mother when she confided in her to have been sexually abused at age ten by an uncle. Mother took the uncle’s side, and that was the end of their relationship. It took Sujeylin several years to come out with this information (she told her mother at age 14 or 15), and it was the beginning of a very dramatic period in her life. She now tells me that the birth of her second child (Karla) marks the end of that period. She claims to be off the drugs and full of plans. She even wants to team up with me and start some kind of organization, to help other mothers off the streets: to tell her story to prove to them that it is possible!! I told her I prefer to finish the film first, obviously.
Today’s interview (again: I use the sound to construct the voice over) went very well actually. She is becoming very candid with certain things. One of them was that she’ll split with Juan Carlos if he’s not able to shake the drugs as well. This was a surprise to me, since she’s emotionally very dependent on him. And whether she’s clean remains to be seen. It’s not the first time she’s gone through this.
I have faith in her, but I have the feeling she’s in her honeymoon period, right after the birth. When we get back to Managua on Friday, reality will hit again. There’s a room to be paid, and three mouths to be fed. Will they manage?
But first tomorrow, which marks a visit to her mother who is away working her piece of land. Sujeylin wants to make amends and at some point (probably not tomorrow) be completely open with her family about her past. Considering their relationship has deteriorated over time, this should be a very telling moment.
And let’s not forget baby Karla, who sleeps her way through the day without knowing that her arrival in this world is the catalyst of all that is changing in her mother’s life right now. And that she’s the very reason for the making of this film. On Monday she has her first check-up. I am curious what her new weight is, as I don’t have the impression she’s gaining as much as she should.
I got the pictures working today. First, the view from the house. Not bad eh? In stark contrast with the house itself, which I’ll post a picture of tomorrow.
Here’s one of Sujeylin with her first daughter, Nasli. She was really raised by Sujeylin’s older sister, whom she thinks is her mother. Sujeylin seems to accept this for the moment and is not planning on taking her back to Managua with her.
Finally, a picture I wanted to post yesterday: the broken down bus from the trip coming here. Reminded me a lot of our 1988 Mexican tour when I was in Up With People… 🙂 (those of you who were there, you know what I mean).
That’s all for today. Tomorrow finally some news about her mother, who’s been a big part of this story but we have yet to meet her.