We have just finished painting and to get an idea about life as a woman in rural Honduras I am chilling under a palm tree with Mirza, one of our national volunteers. She is my age (23-24) and she already has a girl who is six months old. It seems that Hondurans start a family at a much younger age than in the UK, it can be as low as even 20. Mirza being a mum at my age seems incredible and unthinkable for me; but I am about to soon find out, our values and dreams are not that different.
What she has here in San Benito, is what I miss most about living in a big city; a closed knit community. She goes on to tell me what I already noticed in my first week: that people here are incredible, always willing to lend you a hand, always friendly and welcoming. Like me, she values family the most and she is very grateful for who she describes as “God chose to put along her path”.
I ask her if it’s tough to be a mum. It is, but motherhood brings you an incredible and beautiful experience that no other thing could give you and she believes each woman should be able to experience it, no matter her environment. I believe her when she says she is the happiest she has ever been. She also hopes to be as good as her mother was with her, who is also her role model. A woman who loves unconditionally and who she always can confide in. Mirza hopes she, exactly as her mother, can be a friend and a sister to her daughter.
Women’s main role in the San Benito community is keeping the family together, but it’s also supporting each other. The women in San Benito like to meet and create children’s clothing for traditional dances such as pon pons and dresses. They can always trust each other and are all working together towards a better community. This is one of the reasons she volunteered as well, to be able to collaborate with the other locals and to build a stronger future for the children and the community. She loves children and compared to me, she has way more patience with them. However, we both want to offer them a better education so they can reach for the stars and their dreams.
From speaking to Mirza today, it’s clear to see that the environment we live in doesn’t change our personal aspirations. That values of community, education and family are universal. Thus, she is not that different from me. It seems to me that women all around the world are amazing human beings, we can learn from each other, grow with each other and create a better future for the next generation.
Written by ICS volunteer Ioana Dumitru