Home Life

Home Life was shot in Esteli, Nicaragua, in August, 1984. It is a city midway between Managua and the Honduran border whose people acutely felt the impact of U.S. supported contra raids. Videomakers Julia Lesage and Chuck Kleinhans and Seattle-based minister Randall Mullins lived with the people of Esteli for five weeks, and Randall made this tape with the Diaz family to introduce to his parish back home the Nicaraguan family whose life and love he had shared.

0:00Copy video clip URL Color bars and tone, black.

0:58Copy video clip URL Title: Home Life. Opening shots of Esteli, Nicaragua. Credits.

02:08Copy video clip URL Randall Mullins talks about the differences he’s observed between his Nicaraguan host family and his family growing up. “There’s frankly a lot going on in this family in terms of caring and interaction that there wasn’t as much of in my family,” he says. “We were so involved in working and making a living and watching TV. I’m learning a great deal and receiving a great deal from being here.”

04:20Copy video clip URL Mullins details the amount of work that goes into running the household, which is home to 15 people of three different generations. The family has an open-fire stove and no refrigerator, so trips must be made to buy food multiple times a day. The family home has a dirt floor, which is carefully swept and maintained.

05:30Copy video clip URL Mullins talks to Sylvia Diaz through a translator. Diaz describes growing up very poor, working on a hacienda near Jinotega, and cooperating with the Liberation. Her husband was brutally murdered by the National Guard.

11:24Copy video clip URL Sylvia Diaz talks about her life after the Revolution. She had no house before, but now she has a house and all of her children are in school. One of her sons received a government scholarship to study in Bulgaria.

14:25Copy video clip URL Rosa, one of Sylvia’s daughters, washes dishes in the kitchen. She explains that it takes about two hours to get the stove going, and about an hour to cook each meal.

15:48Copy video clip URL Cut to the market the Diaz family visits multiple times a day. Rosa explains that the food prices are controlled at very low rates. Every fifteen days, the government provides soap, cooking oil, beans, and other staple products.

17:35Copy video clip URL Mullins introduces Sylvia’s niece, Elsa. She has eight brothers and sisters, but came to Esteli to live with Sylvia and attend school nearby.

19:00Copy video clip URL Rosa explains that women’s lives have improved after the Revolution because they have more educational options and the government has opened up women’s health centers.

20:30Copy video clip URL The camera pans over a Nicaraguan schoolyard. Elsa talks about belonging to a committee in her school that hosts fundraisers and repairs things that are broken around the building.

22:16Copy video clip URL Sylvia points out different kinds of plants in her garden.

23:12Copy video clip URL Sylvia describes a typical day in her life. She gets up at six in the morning to take care of her garden, and during the day makes sweets for the children to sell in the neighborhood. Throughout the day, she sits at her sewing machine and makes clothes for members of the family.

27:08Copy video clip URL Mullins describes the street the Diaz family lives on. “There’s always people around, and the people move into each other’s houses very freely, so it seems like everyone up and down the street is a part of the family.” The translator asks him to describe the local school system. “There are three children here who are living in Esteli just to go to school, which say something to me about the seriousness,” he says.

29:17Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of the whole family. The cameraman asks Mullins to sum up his experiences in Nicaragua. “When I begin to deal with what the political policies of the United States are, I’m no longer talking about something that’s even a little bit abstract. It’s real personal. These are people that I intend to continue friendships with as much as I can…I have simply received so much.”

32:33Copy video clip URL Postscript: “In August 1984 the Contras kidnapped a child from a family like this and left the mutilated body in the town cemetery. Such tactics are intended to keep the Nicaraguans from supporting the Sandinistas.

33:22Copy video clip URL End of tape.


1 Comment

  1. George Grider says:

    Thrilling and heartbreaking at once. Rev. Mullins shares his educated and unpretentious heart with the campesinos surviving in this war torn country. Many do not survive, on account of the U.S.’s support of Contra fighters. Every American school child should see this fim.

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