Sujeylin and Juan Carlos split up

Just got off the phone with Sujeylin, whom I talk with every 2-3 weeks. Her big news today is that Juan Carlos and her have split up. The latter doesn’t know this yet, but she was called by a friend of hers who said he’s hanging out with another woman. Sujeylin reduced it to a memorable phrase: “always the same.”

Years ago, when I started researching the street baby phenomenon, it quickly became clear that in case the father of the child is known, he generally drops out within the first few months. As such, things are going as expected. No surprises. Although the parent’s relationship is not a principal point of interest for the film, it is clear that most (if not all) second-generation street children will grow up without the presence of their father (if the child is with the mother in the first place and not e.g. in a government shelter). Looking at this with some perspective, one can see that a major reason for this unpleasant fact is the unstable lifestyles of both parents. Extreme poverty drives one into desperate actions and a careless attitude. Most relationships are not capable of resisting the added pressure of living on the street, and a first step to resolve the situation would be to provide stable homes to the entire family unit.

I sometimes wonder whether it’s not better for the child to be raised in a shelter provided by social services, but I sincerely believe that children should remain with their mothers, if at all possible. If anything, shelter should be provided for both mother and child, something the Nicaraguan government is not doing but some NGO’s are (Casa Alianza for instance).

I travel to Managua next week Monday, the 15th, and to Chontales a day later (Sujeylin remains with her mother right now). A few days later we’ll return to Managua for Sujeylin to go look for Juan Carlos and confirm the end of their relationship. Although I’ll only be around for ten days, it’s already promising to become an interesting visit.

Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “Sujeylin and Juan Carlos split up

  1. Interesting; tough stuff. Even decent relationships in good circumstances have to adjust to a baby – seems like there’s just so much working against the idea of stability for these folks. I hope Sujeylin is strong.
    On a sidenote (and this really is not a criticism) – you state here that Sujeylin and JC’s relationship is not a point of interest in the film. The trailer, however, seems to imply otherwise. As I recall (and I’ll need to view it again) – the trialer begins with audio voice-overs of letters from JC while in jail…I might be wrong about this. But I do remember being slightly confused about this when I watched the trailer a few months ago. Just a thought.
    Koen – have a safe trip. Take good care.


  2. Thanks Kelley. You can ask questions or even give critisism any day of the week! Don’t worry.
    The trailer was made when the baby was not born yet, and is about the circumstances the child would arrive in. In that sense it is different from the real story (and maybe should not be called a trailer in the first place).
    Now that Karla is present in the story, it is primarily about her. Obviously, the relationship of her parents is one of the challenging elements in her life and an important part of the story, yet shared by other elements which together make up her reality. So I guess what I meant to say was that the relationship is not a primary element but rather secondary… (this might be cultural because here in Spain a big part of TV programs are about (famous) people’s relationships so focussing on this element would make me feel a little banal – no doubt in Australia Hello magazine is also quite big??).
    Big kiss. Koen.


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