1. Doña María Ordoñez 3 Year Followup Interview

    03:02

    from Tom Laffay / Added

    80 Plays / / 0 Comments

    Nearly exactly 3 years ago I interviewed Doña María Ordoñez of La Isla, Guanacastal, Chichigalpa, Nicaragua about the CKDnT epidemic affecting her community and her own family. She told a gripping and graphic tale of the death of her husband while her 19 year old son told his own story of becoming sick and being forced out of work. Her interview was the core to the Cycle of Death video which was the first film I produced for La Isla Foundation in 2011. 3 years later I sat down with her the day before Solo la Caña, a short film on the issue which includes her interview as well, showed at the Latin American Film Festival in Utrecht, Holland on October 23, 2014. While continuing her life in the famed "Isle of Widows" as its been named by the women of La Isla, her and her son continue to be a voice for their people and hundreds of thousands of others across Central America.

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    • ASI SOY: El Campesino

      04:22

      from Tom Laffay / Added

      95 Plays / / 0 Comments

      ASI SOY: El Campesino is a pilot for a proposed documentary series on average, hard working Nicaraguans who best articulate for themselves the joys and struggles of their own lives and who have a lot to teach an increasingly fast paced world. The title of the proposed series, ASI SOY is a typical Nicaraguan expression that translates roughly to “That’s how I am.” “Campesino” could be translated as ‘farmer’, or ‘peasant’, but throughout Latin America the term is used as an identity while generally referring to someone from the countryside who works with agriculture, livestock and the land. “Campesino” is a culture and Don Orlando Rugama from Miraflor, Esteli is true to that culture. By following Don Orlando through his morning work of milking his cows he shares insight on “campesino” life and the importance of preserving the surrounding nature that directly affects himself and his family. His community, La Labranza has no electricity, but not due to poverty. La Labranza functions more in a cooperative spirit where young and old work together tending beans, corn and coffee bushes in the surrounding mountains. They have maintained a less hectic lifestyle that ebbs and flows with the seasons and contributes to healthy families and a healthy community. The elders, like Don Orlando, have a deep connection to the land they work and see changes and consequences due to changing farming practices. ASI SOY seeks to let the viewer to think about the ways different people live and listen to what they have to teach.

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      • Dirtworks Incubator Farm - A Lowcountry Local First Initiative

        04:36

        from Tom Laffay / Added

        1,848 Plays / / 0 Comments

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        • Anatomy of a Riot

          07:24

          from Tom Laffay / Added

          142 Plays / / 0 Comments

          On March 18, 2013 over one hundred men and women affected by an epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown cause (CKDu) were holding a peaceful protest in Chichigalpa Nicaragua. By blockading traffic on the Leon-Chinandega branch of the Pan-American Highway they hoped they could draw attention to those suffering with the disease and the thousands who have died in the past decade. But what had been an entire day of peaceful protest turned violent in an instant, a reflection of the tensions that exist in sugarcane communities affected by the epidemic. This short film breaks down the "anatomy of a riot" as it follows a young woman who lost her sugarcane cutting brother to CKDu and their community that, lacking a voice or assistance, decided to organize and protest and was eventually violently repressed. The CKDu epidemic itself is the result of a structural framework that has resulted in the deaths and impoverishment of thousands of people in the Central American lowlands. This video is also an introduction to a full report on the human rights abuses committed by local police against the population of Chichigalpa. View the full report here: http://laislafoundation.org/epidemic/anatomy-riot-page/ See a blog post on the days events here: http://laislafoundation.org/ckduprotests/ La Isla Foundation will work with all parties willing to be part of the solution. What can you do? Contact La Isla Foundation to be part of the solution.

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          • OFF AIR

            06:51

            from Tom Laffay / Added

            714 Plays / / 0 Comments

            With the world's eye on Chichigalpa, Nicaragua after a round of media visits over the course of 2012, the complicated circumstances surrounding the basics of the CKDu issue do not fit easily into a nightly news program. OFF AIR explores a deeper and darker reality of intimidation that those affected by the disease face every day. Intimidation of communities affected by the CKDu epidemic from Nicaraguan Sugar Estates Limited (NSEL), owners of Ingenio San Antonio (ISA) is affecting medical research in the affected communities. Their brand of intimidation involves threatening workers and surviving widows, who earn between 100-250 US dollars a month, with losing their employment and/or food and medical stipends they were given. These stipends were given via an International Finance Corporation (IFC) arbitration process that was supposed to resolve a complaint between a community organization, ASOCHIVIDA, and NSEL, which was the recipient of a multimillion-dollar loan from the IFC. What has happened instead is that the community organization, ASOCHIVIDA, has been pressured by the sugarcane company into intimidating their own members by using the stipends as leverage over their membership. For talking to the press or working with independent researchers, like La Isla Foundation, families desperate for whatever help they can get have had their food stipends, jobs, and medical supplies threatened or taken away. This has damaged our research efforts as community members have become too scared to participate in the studies that will help us identify the cause. Tierra Unida Films and LIF are explaining the complicated situation and asking the company to collaborate instead of prevent meaningful, independently funded and peer-reviewed research. Tragically, one of the men in the video has already passed away, a stark reminder of the urgent need to find the cause. NSEL has also pressured other sugar producers in Nicaragua not to collaborate with independent researchers via their powerful lobby in the Nicaraguan Sugar Producers Association. This unfortunate turn of events occurs as La Isla Foundation and its research partners have a study protocol ready and funded that may find the cause of the disease. We only require the collaboration of a sugarcane company in Nicaragua to carry out research that is likely to identify a principal cause of the epidemic. This research must coincide with the beginning of the cane harvest in two weeks and will likely need to be suspended until next year because of NSEL’s actions. Write NSEL (http://www.nicaraguasugar.com/es/contactenos/) to tell them that you think they should collaborate with LIF and our research partners. That research should be delayed and thousands of more men put at risk due to special interests is unconscionable. Learn more about the CKDu issue at www.laislafoundation.org and be part of the solution. Learn more about Tierra Unida Films and our work on this issue at www.tierraunidafilms.org

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            • Only Job in Town

              06:03

              from Tom Laffay / Added

              766 Plays / / 0 Comments

              The rainy season brings a halt to the cutting season between May and November, but veteran sugarcane cutters find work in other jobs as sugarcane production never rests. They work in "cleaning," or weeding the cane fields, spraying chemical herbicides and pesticides, working security of fields, warehouses and factories, and maintaining irrigation infrastructure, preparing for the next cutting season, which will begin when the rains subside and the sun settles back into its dominance for another six months. This rainy season saw a thorough campaign of health exams in the affected community of Guanacastal de Sur, which includes La Isla, carried out by La Isla Foundation and CISTA (Center for Investigation in Health, Work and Environment) officials with medical students from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (NYC) and UNAN-Leon. Study fatigue can set in among community members who, year after year, participate in medical exams while family members and friends perish of the very disease being studied. This round of exams however saw a much more upbeat response by the community as a year of community work and education on the health studies built stronger relationships between members of the affected communities and the researchers. The majority of that community work was carried out by young people from Nicaragua, the U.S. and Europe working tirelessly for months carrying out surveys, holding educational seminars, and sharing conversation over meals with people in the communities. All this success however is matched by the fact that over 60% of men in these communities have CKD and continuing studies only confirm that rate with each new generation taking to the fields. LIF and CISTA have developed a protocol for a causality study to test the interaction of sugar, specifically fructose, with chronic dehydration, that they plan on implementing in a study this November with the beginning of the cutting season. The rain will cease, the cane will burn, and the season will begin. Will this be the year that we find the cause? Be part of the solution. Learn more at laislafoundation.org - tierraunidafilms.org

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              • Solo la Caña

                06:15

                from Tom Laffay / Added

                262 Plays / / 0 Comments

                La temporada lluviosa interrumpe la zafra entre mayo y noviembre, pero los cañeros veteranos encuentran otros trabajos ya que la producción de caña de azúcar nunca descansa. Ellos trabajan en la limpieza de los plantíos, aplicando herbicidas y pesticidas, trabajando en la seguridad de los plantíos, bodegas, y fábricas y en el mantenimiento de la infraestructura de riego, preparando para la próxima zafra, la cual empezará cuando el cielo escampe y el sol regrese a su dominio por seis meses más. Esta temporada de lluvias vio una campaña rigurosa de exámenes de salud en las comunidades afectadas de Guanacastal Sur, la cual incluye La Isla, realizado por Fundación Isla y oficiales de salud de CISTA (Centro de Investigación en Salud, Trabajo y Ambiente) con estudiantes de medicina de La Escuela de Medicina de Mt. Sinaí (NYC) y la UNAN-León. Puede haber cansancio a los estudios entre miembros de las comunidades, quienes, año tras año, participan en exámenes médicos mientras amigos y miembros de sus familias mueren de la misma enfermedad que se esta estudiando. Esta ronda de exámenes sin embargo vio una respuesta mucho mas positiva de la comunidad tras un año de trabajo comunitario y la educación sobre los estudios médicos realizados creó relaciones mas fuertes entre miembros de las comunidades afectadas y los investigadores. La mayoría del trabajo comunitario fue hecho por jóvenes de Nicaragua, los EE.UU. y Europa trabajando sin descanso por meses, haciendo las encuestas, dando charlas educacionales, y compartiendo conversaciones durante almuerzos con personas en las comunidades. Todo este éxito sin embargo está enfrentado con el hecho de que más del 60% de los hombres en estas comunidades tienen Insuficiencia Renal Crónica (IRC) y continuos estudios sólo confirman estos índices con cada generación nueva metiéndose en los plantíos. Fundación Isla y CISTA han desarrollado un protocolo para un estudio de causalidad para probar la interacción del azúcar, específicamente la fructosa, con la deshidratación crónica, que planean implementar en un estudio este noviembre con la llegada de los cortes de caña. Las lluvias se suspenderán, la caña se quemará y la zafra empezará. ¿Este será el año que encontremos la causa de la enfermedad? Sea parte de la solución. Aprende más en laislafoundation.org - tierraunidafilms.org

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                • MALACATOYA necesidad de un cambio de paradigma en zonas inundadas

                  03:35

                  from Tom Laffay / Added

                  787 Plays / / 0 Comments

                  Apoya este proyecto en Indiegogo! http://www.indiegogo.com/CO2Bambu Support this project on Indiogogo! http://www.indiegogo.com/CO2Bambu La comunidad de Malacatoya, Nicaragua, se inunda cada año. Tradicionalmente, la respuesta de parte del gobierno local ha sido trasladar a estos eco-refugiados (o refugiados ambientales) a nuevos lugares. Este paradigma no funciona. La realidad en el terreno es que las comunidades reubicadas regresan a su tierra de origen. Este video muestra un diagnostico inicial del problema de la repuesta post-inundación por parte de de CO2 Bambu, empresa social nicaragüense dedicada a la construccion de viviendas sociales ecológicas, a base de bambu. "The community of Malacatoya, Nicaragua is flooded annually. The traditional response to flooding is for local governments to move their eco-refugees to new communities. This paradigm does not work. The reality on the ground is that relocated communities return to their homelands. This video shows an initial diagnostic of the post-flooding response problem by CO2 Bambu, a Nicaraguan-based builder of low carbon footprint bamboo-based homes." Music by Rikki From the Album ¿De Qué Color? Music and Lyrics by R. Thomas-Martínez Homemade in Nicaragua with Canon 7D

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                  • Soy de Matagalpa

                    01:47

                    from Tom Laffay / Added

                    508 Plays / / 0 Comments

                    Un tributo a una noche típica en la bella ciudad de Matagalpa, Nicaragua y a su gente quienes nos ofrecieron su hospitalidad sin limites y tienen los nacatamales y guarilas mejores en todo el país! Muchas gracias a Félix también por compartir su música y su conversación con nosotros. Canción: "Soy De Matagalpa" - Félix Grabado con Canon 7D (audio también) Editado FCP7 Hecho por Tomás Laffay y Kate Barattini

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                    • La Isla - Un Ciclo de la Muerte (En Español)

                      04:50

                      from Tom Laffay / Added

                      604 Plays / / 0 Comments

                      La Isla es una comunidad pequeña localizada fuera de Chichigalpa, Nicaragua en las tierras bajas centro americanas. Su único ecónomo es la industria de caña de azúcar cual depende en hombres jóvenes desesperados provenir para sus familias asegurando una suplía interminable de labor. El sueldo que se pueden ganar vale la pena a pesar del hecho que casi 70% de los hombres trabajando en la industria contraen Enfermedad Renal Crónica (CKD) debido a causas desconocidas. Investigaciones por la Universidad de Boston y por la Universidad Nacional Autónomo de Nicaragua, Leon (UNAN) todavía no han proporcionadas respuestas por la causa de la enfermedad. En el intervalo aproximadamente 250 hombres están muriendo cada año dejando su comunidad adquirir el apodo de “La Isla de Viudas.” Las edades de los muertos extienden desde 18 hasta 40+ años que significa inherentemente que ellos son los proveedores para sus familias. Sin sus capacidades de ganar, las viudas de la comunidad están dejadas a tratar provenir para sus hijos en pobreza entumecida mientras sus hijos se crían destinados a machetear y quemar al suelo, en fin para producir el bien de consumo de azúcar por un precio bajo. El pueblo de La Isla merece dignidad, podes ayudar? aprende más en laislafoundation.org

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