Biscuits and a broom

In the car this morning, I was writing today’s blog entry in my head. I was going to call it “Karla = Carla” because today the baby would finally be registered and I am starting to figure out that Sujeylin has reverted to writing her daughter’s name with a C. We actually arrived very early, since the initial plan was to start the day off with a short scene of boyfriend Felix going to his un-human job at 6.30 in the morning. I was so sleepy that my imaginary blog entry started sounding like a dream to me.

As you might guess, the expected didn’t happen and the unexpected did. Upon arrival, Felix had already left as he was asked today to come in at 6AM and work an hour later, until 8PM. That’s 14 hours! But Sujeylin was already up so we headed over to pick up her papers and on to the registry. Unfortunately, that plan also failed. She owns no ID card and without it they won’t let her register her baby (despite her carrying her own birth certificate and that of Karla).

failed inscription

What strikes me is that the Nicarguan government allows one to register a child until it turns one, so there’s some time for Sujeylin and Karla, but what happens after that? Are paperwork and bureaucracy more important than having a valid record of a country’s citizens?

I did shoot a little bit, but with both possible scenes not worthy of making it to the final film, I was starting to wonder what surprises today would bring instead. The answer came right after returning home around noon at her in-law’s, when she tried to put Karla to sleep in the hammock. The little one didn’t stop crying, to which mother-in-law Marlene enquired what she had eaten today…

Works out Karla hadn’t really eaten yet!! She had had a small bottle and was breastfed for a few minutes, but she needs much more than that. So Marlene got upset with Sujeylin and told her to go buy some crackers. These were mixed with water, and that was breakfast and lunch.


At this point, Marlene started complaining to us (see how we are always treated as referees?) on how her son’s girlfriend could contribute a little more to their home. Right now, mother gets up at 4.30 in the morning to prepare breakfast for Felix who normally leaves at 6.30 (and today earlier). Why doesn’t Sujeylin do this?

It seems trivial, but deep down this is very important. Sujeylin has been used to the biggest drug available: the ultimate freedom only available on the streets. She’s not used to having responsibilities in a home. And she is not one to do the dishes spontaneously.

Her new mother-in-law, who so generously has taken her in, is the opposite. She worked the house ever since she was a young girl. She cooks, cleans, washes, mends clothes – from early in the morning to late in the day. So there seems to be a fundamental cultural difference between these two women. That, and my impression that Felix is not cut of the same wood as Sujeylin, make me believe that this very positive turn in her life (I had not seen her so well taken care of so far) is quite fragile.

But Sujeylin is not stupid – far from it in fact – and without having heard the previous conversation between Marlene and the referee film crew, picked up a broom and started to do some cleaning…


What’s important here is not the soap opera like mushy details of people’s relationships and emotions, but whether Sujeylin is able to offer Karla a stable and safe environment once and for all. Felix’s family offers a golden opportunity. Will she be able to put her daughter’s interest first and make a few sacrifices? Time will tell. We are five months into the project, with seven months to go. Where is this going?

Finally a note on names. Did you know that Koen = Coen?? Although for us K-Koens, C-Coens are dorks. As such, I much prefer Karla over Carla… Haha.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s