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.