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The Story

La Chureca, Nicaragua


Dominga has terminal AIDS. For the 25 year-old glue addict, breathing has become a challenge in
the Chureca, a 5 mile dump located on the banks of Lake Managua in Nicaragua. As she tries to
cope with her looming death, she seeks to reestablish a relationship with her son who was taken
from her at birth, while looking after her ailing mother.

Her struggle is the story of many of the 1500 people living and working in the Chureca, the largest
open-air landfill in Central America. Dominga embodies the deep bond felt between mothers
and their children in a place plagued by disease, drugs and violence. Eleven year-old Fabiola works
in the Chureca and is in danger of following Dominga’s path. She is caught in a struggle between
loyalty to her mother, and the appeals of a group of evangelical Christians fighting for her to join
a youth center far from the dump. It’s the promise of a better life that other young women like
Maryuri are fighting to achieve; at nineteen, she has ongoing health problems and is at risk of losing
the second child she is expecting.

BY MY SIDE follows Dominga, Fabiola and Maryuri as they look for an improbable way out of the
Chureca. In their quest for a better life, the three young women will have to make heart-wrenching
decisions – and determine whether their mothers are their best allies, or unexpected foes.