Bluefields, Nicaragua

There seems to be a trend... Within an hour of arriving in Bluefields, a reporter from the Bluefields Creole News found Adam, Andrew, and I and interviewed us about our time in Bluefields - which at that point had been about an hour.

An interesting town on the Carribean Sea with quite a large Carribean influence. Creole is spoken here in addition to Spanish. We also ended up interviewing him about the culture clash within the local Creole community and the struggle of competing with a successful Spanish Nicaraguan economy.

He interviewed us on a modest VHS-E Camcorder. We interviewed him on a Panasonic HVX 200. He was the only one of us who had an actual television show and a contract with a television station.

We spent the next few hours looking for a 'story' for the documentary we are working on. It wasn't long before we ran into some undergrad students from the University of Virginia who were in Bluefields over the Holiday break to work on several sustainable development projects. We heard about a group of people who were living in the town garbage dump- known locally as the 'Basurera'.

We spent the rest of the day in a neighborhood called '19th of July'. It exists is because of the economy that is generated from salvaging items from the ´Basurera´ that it is situated on. The people who live here are scavengers in the truest sense. Sifting through the discarded waste of their fellow Nicaraguans to try and find a few gems to help keep them alive.

A young boy emerged from the wasteland. He left the group of about 20 scavengers, dogs, and pigs and approached me, opened a bag that he had found and started reciting a list.

Un Elefante
El torso de Batman
Algo para la niña
Un bracelete
Una calculadora

Sirve?

No...

He and his sister had rounded up discarded toys to take home and play with. He was excited. He was far more excited than I ever remember being on any Christmas morning growing up.

All of the kids we met lived with their brothers and sisters and mothers. I thought it was odd that they never mentioned their fathers. I was reluctant to ask about it.

That's when I met Rosa Alva Torres. She was one of the fortunate ones who actually had 4 walls and a roof. She shared a single 1 room home with her 4 children and 4 other women. The men were strangely absent.

When I asked Rosa about her husband, she was candid in her response that he had left with another woman. He didn't want the burden of raising 4 daughters and living off salvaged clothes, food and shelter from the Basurera. She hadn't heard from him but she knew he was gone.

This was her story. It was also the story of the majority of women living in the 19th of July. It bothers me. It really bothers me. I find myself with questions about injustice, fate, struggle and endurance.

Most of all - Why?


For a new film I am working on, we conducted interviews with women and children about living on other peoples throw aways, raising a family on ´0´ income, the joy of finding a ´great´toy to play with, sadness at not being able to afford school which only costs $16.25 a month, poverty, happiness, love, and loss.

As we were getting ready to leave, I saw 2 young girls who were about 7 or 8 years old carrying a broken basket that they had found. In it, they were carrying some items they had found in the mountain of plastic, scrap tin, and broken electronics. A cabbage, a few yucas, an onion, a bunch of oranges and a banana. All of these items were over ripe and partially molding. The young girls said that they were carrying this food home so their mother could salvage what was left and they could have a meal.

That was when a young boy ran up from behind, grabbed the completely bruised banana and started eating it. They girls were disappointed because the brown banana was for their mother who was going to prepare a meal it along with the other food they had salvaged.

The 19th of July is the Nicaraguan Day of Independence.

Heartbreaking.

Google Maps - Bluefields, Nicaragua

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