This week we began our work placements organised by COOMUPL and it has been incredibly rewarding and physically demanding. On Monday we were driven to the home of Ambrosia and shown the plot of land we would be clearing in order to enable vegetable production. The task ahead was daunting, particularly when coming face to face with the number of trees that would need uprooting. However, we were working alongside Ambrosia, her children and grandchildren and before we knew it we got into the swing of things. Equipped with axes, pick-axes, machetes and hoes we began to clear the land. Ambrosia’s sons and grandsons wielded the machetes and axes with such precision and speed leaving us amazed and eager to improve our technique. At the end of the day we came away exhausted but satisfied with the progress that had been made as we were able to see the physical difference in the landscape.
This week we were also invited to take part in celebrations for Honduran Women’s Day on the 25th of January. On the day beforehand we helped out creating posters, banners and butterflies to decorate the Casa de Cultura (Cultural House) and preparing a small gift of a mug filled with chocolates and sweets as a gift for 120 women who were invited to attend the event. On the Friday morning we attended an event organised by COMUCAP, which consisted of presentations by several influential men and women on issues such as femicide, domestic violence and the position of women both historically and in contemporary Honduras.
As well as listening to the talks we were also invited up to contribute our thoughts and feelings. Lorena, Katie, Becky and Dave spoke on behalf of the group to express our support for the cause and offer our help out in whatever way possible, before the five guys in the group showed their support and participation in the event by handing out the presents to every one of the women to show their appreciation of women, accompanied by many hugs and kisses, which were greatly appreciated by the women! In the evening we also attended a dinner organised by COOMUPL where we met with various women from the cooperative. In commemoration of the national Women’s Day Becky wrote the following poem.
Honduran Women’s Day Poem
In many countries, life for women is hard
From office and ownership they often are barred
They do most of the work,
But receive ten percent of the pay
With all this much effort, do they not deserve a say?
Reading the stats, it might seem like they don’t
In several countries they can’t even vote
In others they’ve made it to political power
But facing a backlash they sometimes have cowered
In total, they make up less than a fifth of MPs
Despite their inclusion in political parties
There are times, however, they’ve risen to the top
And shown the whole country just what they’ve got
In India and Ireland and all around the world
When given the chance women have made themselves heard
In Germany, Merkel has shown she is able
By keeping the country economically stable
And in Liberia after the civil war ceased
President Sirleaf Johnson brought the country to peace
So let’s promote women in political life
Let’s see them as more than just mother, just wife
Let’s rouse up the women and bring them along
To show the world together we’re strong.
Progressio ICS volunteer Suhkjeet Bath blogs on the groups first experiences in Honduras
Progressio ICS volunteer Becky Higgins writes a poignant poem on Women's Day in Honduras.