Waste pickers from the Chureca had been waiting for a new house for months. They could see it being built near the site, where they are scavenging every day. A woman apparently tried to take advantage of this hope for a new home. More than 30 people told police earlier this month that they were victims of a scam. Nelly del Socorro Canales Fornos told them she was selling homes in the new housing complex in the Chureca. These people apparently paid between 300 and 500 dollars. According to a story published earlier this month in La Prensa, the woman admitted to the police her guilt in this scam. She supposedly told her victims that she was working for the company building the houses for 258 families of the Chureca and that some of the houses were for sale.
Some people living in the Chureca are afraid to be expelled from their house according to a story in El Nuevo Diario. These people are not scheduled to receive a new house because they apparently did not live in the Chureca when the census was done for the new houses. Dominga’s sister, Fatima, recently received her new home after living for years inside the Chureca.
Fatima, Dominga’s sister, recently received a new house in the new housing development in the Chureca. These houses were built to relocate the Churequeros. Authorities have also been building a new recycling plant to give the waste pickers a new job. El Nuevo Diario recently reported that some people of the Chureca have been left behind. They say they have not received a home nor a job. Despite living most of her life in the Chureca, doña Isabel has not been offered a house, because she did not live inside the perimeter of the dump anymore. Her son and daughter keep working in the Chureca. Same thing for Maryuri’s family, who lives outside the Chureca and who did not receive a house. The challenges in the Chureca remain huge. The last time we saw Alba Rosa, Maryuri’s mother, she was suffering from an eye infection.
Last Friday, I was in Trenton, NJ. It is technically a world away from the Chureca. But when I stepped into the offices of TerraCycle and when I met Tom Szaky, the young CEO of the company, I thought about the Churequeros a lot. Tom Szaky recycles all he can think of. It goes from used diapers to cans and to cigarette butts. He also recycles plastic bottles and everything that is worth something in the Chureca as well. But he goes one step further. With his team, he thinks about a way to reinvent garbage and recycle it into a new product. For instance, cigarette butts are turned into ashtrays among other things. He keeps talking about outsmarting waste: “Instead of the product being the driver, garbage is the driver”.
TerraCycle collects 100 different kind of waste and helps to create 1500 new products with the material it recycles. The way it works is clever: TerraCycle asks people to join one of its brigades collecting one specific kind of waste. People, who join and collect waste, get points when they send it and can convert their points into cash to support a non-profit or a school of their choice. In countries like Brazil and Mexico, Terracycle also works with cooperatives, which pay the waste pickers. I told Tom Szaky about the Chureca. Hopefully the Trenton-based company will get there as there is a lot to recycle in the Chureca. If you are interested in joining one of the collection brigades, you can go to TerraCycle’s website.
Here is the poster of By My Side [A Mi Lado] designed by Fabio Cutro and updated festival selections and awards. We hope 2013 will be even better than 2012 for the film. Thank you all for your support!
By My Side [A Mi Lado] is documenting the life of 3 women of the Chureca. But they are people in the landfill of Managua, who are trying to help these women find a way out. As we were shooting the film, we witnessed the work of Earth Education Project, a great UK charity. Fatima, Dominga’s sister, was making colorful greeting cards at home. She is part of this project launched by Andrea Paltzer to help the young women like Dominga, Fabiola and Maryuri.
The goal is to sell these greeting cards abroad and help the women out with the money raised, while empowering them. In the Fall, we teamed up with Earth Education Project. The women of the Chureca were asked to draw what “by my side” meant to them. You will find of their works below. We hope you will check out Earth Education Project’s website and support this important work to help transform the lives of the women of the Chureca. We wish you a Happy New Year! The Angel’s wings by Fatima Aragon Gladys Silvia Maricela
For the last day of 2012, we would like to share with you a drawing made by Fatima Aragon, Dominga’s sister. It is called “The Angel’s wings”. It is a drawing she made as part of the Earth Education Project. This UK charity helps women of the Chureca by selling their greeting cards. Fatima and other women from the project were asked to draw what “by my side” meant to them. Please check out the charity website and support this great cause! http://www.eartheducationproject.org/
We had planned to release this week the updated poster of By My Side [A Mi Lado] designed by Fabio Cutró. We will wait. We have to. After having covered the Sandy Hook shooting, you have to put things into perspective. It is hard to think about a film, when parents wonder how they will now make it without their children by their side.
This was my second shooting this year after the one in Chardon, Ohio, last February. On the same day, I had covered the funeral of a young victim of the shooting and the first court appearance of T.J. Lane, the alleged shooter. This young main looked frail, innocent, as he faced the judge. In the small court room of Chardon, there were families of the victims. The grandparents of the shooter were with him. The grandfather of T.J. Lane was shaking. You could get a sense of the destruction this young man had caused.
Ten months later, here I am ringing door bells in the neighborhood of Adam Lanza, the author of the Sandy Hook shooting. I am covering Noah Pozner’s funeral and interviewing people who had attended the service. Noah was 6. He was my son’s age. He loved Super Mario Bros, like my son. As I stood in front of the funeral home in Fairfield yesterday, I was wondering what might have happened, had the shooter not had access to those guns.