Lost and found!

I just got off the phone with Sujeylin. We spoke for 20 minutes. She had called one of the Nicaraguan production assistants, who afterwards sent me a mail with her number. What a relief.

I’m afraid she’s not that well. Not that she’s in any situation she hasn’t been in before, but when we left her back in April she was well on her way to dramatically improving the quality of her life. Her side of the story is that ex-boyfriend Felix stole everything from her and left her behind in the village of her mother. She then moved back to Managua a month ago, and rented a small room (when you see my film you’ll see these rooms are pretty tough). She’s living of what she knows best: selling marijuana. I don’t blame her. She has no real alternative.

Poverty is very circular. It’s very hard to improve anything when you’re living from hand to mouth. One little hitch and you’re back to square one. The “poor” (whoever we include in a definition of this word, and if we are allowed to generalize) have a double disadvantage in trying to escape their situation – there are no resources to undertake anything and nothing to fall back on either when business is slow. Whatever business that may be.

Sujeylin and Karla live of 2-3 dollar a day. “Why don’t you help her?” you’ll ask. We did. We helped her set up a business, less than five months ago. She was all excited about it. But her relationship got in-between it, and destroyed any prospect for it to flourish.

I should be seeing her at the end of October. Until then, and now that we know where she is, we’ll be talking about how to improve her situation in the short-term from a distance. Even though I don’t want to be the one keeping her alive. I want that to be her.

Karla is doing ok. She’s left with some friend or family member during the day, who feeds her and takes care of her. That’s a good thing.

It was good to hear Sujeylin’s voice. She cried all the way through, and evoked in me a strong desire to go and see things for myself. It’s such a paradox. We’re here planning the release of the film, premieres, festivals, etc. (ok, and a strong fundraising element for the Casa Alianza Young Mother’s Program) and she’s back to square one. Almost to where she was pretty much when I first got to know her.

Strange, this world.

3 thoughts on “Lost and found!

  1. Very clear analysis Koen, thank you. It is very easy to say that what she is doing now is wrong. But, what is the alternative? After all Sujeylin is a young mother who hopefully learns from this situation to make a next step in her life and another choice if she gets another opportunity. In the ‘first world people make mistakes all the time but the consequences are not comparable.
    You are dedicating large part of your time to telling her story and in the meantime raising funds, so I think that is about as much as you can do.


  2. I think you show the world her story, and that’s the most important thing. Most people are just looking at the story and doing nothing! My mother learned me this lesson: Try to do your best, more is not possible. So if you know the true story, look at the mirror and find out that you really doing the best thing you can do, it’s enough.


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