Friday, February 17, 2012

Fighting to Survive

        Life here continues to be a mix of pure joy at the slow pace of life and the relationships I am making along with random onset frustration at the injustices I am seeing. The other day, I asked one of our watch guards at the clinic how he was doing and he replied “luchando para sobrevivir” or “fighting to survive”. Wow. I have never thought about it that way, but he is right. The truth is the majority of people here are doing just that, “fighting to survive”. Don Beto (our watch guard) is one of the lucky ones; he has a job. Yet he works every single day from 6pm to 6 am. He has no weekends and maybe a week of vacation for the year. Yet, he barely gets by. I look at the nurses who live at the clinic (we have 2 babies living upstairs in the apartments). They are both single mothers and have hired niñeras to watch their babies during the day. These nannies leave their families to come live at the clinic. One of the nannies, Yendi, is 18 and already has a two year old. She left her daughter with her mom and comes and takes care of another baby. She only completed school to sixth grade and is raising the baby alone. Fighting to survive. I look at the cooks here, Maria and Maria. They are both single mothers whose husbands have left for the States. They work the longest hours of anyone at the clinic, getting here at 6:30 in the morning and leaving at 8 at night (with a little siesta from 2 to 5). They take care of us yet they have to hire people at their homes to take care of their own children making their take home pay minuscule. Fighting to survive. Single motherhood and early motherhood is a huge problem here. Most women have children by the time they are 20 and it is rare that they are married or with a constant partner. One of the best ways to fix this is through education. Typically, the more education a woman has, the less likely she is to have a baby at a young age. However, the majority of women in the rural parts of Honduras do not go to school past sixth grade. This is due to lack of economic resources and the necessity of their help at home.

Preparing the school supplies for the scholarship students

           I am reminded that despite these hardships, there is still so much joy to be found here. These past few weeks have been filled with working for the scholarship program, work here and there, but mostly just relaxing and trying to take in all that I can. My roommate Amy and I attended one of the cook’s daughter’s birthday parties and it was complete with a piñata, tamales, and of course cake in the face for the birthday girl (a Honduran tradition!)  We also celebrated Valentine’s Day (Dia de Amistad or Friendship Day) as it called here on Tuesday and had a special dinner complete with a heart shaped cake, it was a perfect way to celebrate the friendships with those in the clinic! The night was not complete until we played Repollo. This Honduran favorite is like hot potato and you pass around a ball of paper. When the music stops, you have to take the outer piece of paper off and read your “dare”. It can get a little crazy! There were some marriage proposals, kisses on the cheek, dancing with a broom, and massages taking place. Overall, a great way to laugh though!
My roommate Amy and I with Maria's daughters
Carrying a piñata through town for the birthday fiesta

With Rafeal and Cindy after the piñata festivities   
For most of the locals here, everyday is a gift. They are thankful for everything they have and are not clouded by the complications of life that come when we have all that we need. Their job is simply this: to get by.  And while their main concern may be survival, they still take the time to stop and live and be thankful for the things we can overlook when we aren’t faced with losing them everyday. This is a lesson I continuously learn from during my time here. Happy Valentine’s Day week! I am thankful for all my friendships here and at home! Miss you all!
At the clinic's Valentine's Day celebration

No comments:

Post a Comment