As my time in Nicaragua comes to a close I have begun to reflect on what I have seen and done here. By no means does three weeks make me even close to an expert on this culture and what makes it tick. However, I do like to think that I have gained some insight through personal relationships that I could never have received through any amount of research or statistics. The friendship that I have built in just three weeks feel strong enough to last a life time – and that makes my heart happy. You see, I am a “people-person” as some would say. As a people-person I have been observing the ways in which people around me interact with one another and in-turn how they interact with their community.
More specifically, I was curious as to how women felt, acted and interacted. The most startling and obvious difference from American culture was the age in which most girls were having kids. It was far from uncommon to see a 15 year old girl lugging around her three and one year old children. I was curious if this was seen as problematic in this culture or if the “American” lens in which I see the world told me it was a problem that needed to be changed.
I sat and talked with one young mom at a local baby blue church down the winding, dirt road from the farm. I am drawn to babies and conversation can be easily stated (in any language) through simple questions about a baby. I soon came to learn more about the sweet young girl holding an infant. I learned how drastically her dreams of college and a career translating Spanish to English (or even any job potentially) went out the window. This young woman was not a statistic to be analyzed, but a woman to be loved and cared for. She is a woman to seek clarity from and learn from. I cannot tell you how to change the inequality that forces young women to take on the full burden of a child instead of both the man and the women. But I can tell you there is at positively one women who desires change. (And many more with whom I spoke to on this topic after this encounter). This experience has reignited my desire to see inequality of men and women disappear. It was different than what I had anticipated seeing the inequality as, but nevertheless just as important to address.