Girl Mothers and Their Struggle
Some of you may think of me as strong, and let me tell you, it took a lot of courage to go on with two kids, a husband who treated them badly and didn’t work, no money at all, and a mother in law who did everything to try to get my husband to divorce me (which I did later on), but when my third son was born, that very moment, I discovered where the strength came from. I saw my little baby’s face, I kissed him and in my heart I thanked all the angels that my heavenly father had sent near me.
The chain of miracles had began with my grandmother, that lovely, beautiful woman who loved me more than words can say who taught me from her wisdom. She said ‘Those Who Have God, Have Everything’. I had been praying to Jesus throughout my pregnancy. Believe me, there was really nothing else I was capable of doing. I ran into a man who wanted to buy handcrafts to take to the United States. God bless him. With that money I paid for the new doctor, I bought new beds for the kids and 50 kg. of milk, which at that time was very, very expensive. Talk about God working in my life!
The economy of Bolivia at the time was a disaster. In 1982 a left party government had taken office and its wrong steps in economic issues resulted in an inflation rate of 10,000%. No, it is not a mistake, it was 10,000%!. Empty shelves were the trademark of the left wing government. People like me could hardly buy milk, flour or sugar, as they were only available in 50kg bags that were too expensive. Before my little son turned one, I prayed to God to take me away from my mother in law by the end of the year of 1986. I would start my day at 5:00am, and without any noise would start praying until seven, to make breakfast.
I filled up my mind with the same thought all day: My Heavenly Father will take me out of this place by the end of this year, “I thank you in advance, dear Jesus, because you walk with me through this painful time; thank you for taking me out”. Many times my mother in law would say to me: What are you dreaming of? Come back to reality!. I wasn’t dreaming. I was praying.
In June, 1986 my mother took me to a doctor, who put a contraceptive device in me. I would afterwards thank her all my life for that. My husband had promised to have seven kids with me. My mom and I were friends again, thank God. And on December 31st, 1986 at six in the morning, my mother called to tell me aunt had bought a house and she wanted me to move there, could I please do it during the day? Talk about God making my dreams come true! I never again visited my mother in law.
Gender Equality in my life
My fourth kid has come to life in a very different situation. She was born in February 1998, after threatening to be born early four times. My new husband and my son were waiting for me at our home, my husband with a yummy dish and my son with balloons and a welcome letter for his baby sister. This time my woman doctor was strong, but gentle and available to me. She made the miracle of having my little princess complete her womb life entirely. I was away from my mom, but she came to see me when I gave birth.
Throughout college, my different jobs and the birth of little Jacqui, I realize I have had the help of remarkable women, like my aunt Marina and my grandmother, may they rest in peace, my mother, who has been an inspiration and my mother and father all along my life, working more than any man I know, and the woman doctor who cares for me now. I must also admit I have encountered women who mistreated me. This happens all the time to girl mothers: women are the first to mistreat them. By working with indigenous women in La Paz and Tarija, I know that women have the same problem in all social spheres: they are used to inequality. One of my last post graduate courses has been in gender equality, and it empowered me to help women better. Girl mothers are here, but, are we here for them?
Girls with migrating parents are in greater risk. But, what are the real numbers? How many teens are helped by their parents and family and how many are not? How hard is it for young girls to get the right medical attention? Are they being discriminated, mistreated or left out by their nearest social circles? Are their babies well off or have they any disabilities and of what kind? How many years does it take them to leave poverty if they ever do? These questions remain unanswered yet, as there is no institution specifically studying these facts. Different institutions have partial information and they use it also with partial results. Information is the key to facing these problems successfully.
This is one of the reasons why I have created the Gender Equality Training and Studies Center (GETS Center) - Centro de Estudios y Capacitación en Equidad de Género CECEG – which intends to be part of the solution for girls and women who suffer from discrimination, exclusion, rape, violence and ignorance. The Center works in three ways:
- By training women to be gender equality technicians thus creating new jobs for women in risk,
- by studying gender issues scientifically, so that appropriate numbers will help projects to be more successful gender wise,
- and by training the society itself through seminars and widespread social marketing campaigns focusing on gender equality as a very important means to become a non violent society.
Scientific studies are the first being funded, but we intend to make the three parts work, and we are asking for support. In field trips I have initiated the work with girls by helping them to heal different physical and spiritual wounds. I will never forget Angela, 21, who had two boys at school. The three of them had scabies all over their faces. Nobody cared. They live a half hour ride away from the nearest health station, but there are no cars there, so she would have to walk about six hours. I gave her vitamin A and taught her how to use it. Three days after, when I was leaving the village, she came to say goodbye and gave me a silent hug I will never forget: she and her children had no scabies anymore.
I hope, and I pray, that no more girl mothers will suffer from discrimination and hideous treatment. God’s ways are unknown to us. I never imagined writing about this. God’s purpose for my life is marvelous. I am the vehicle of His love, and the place He is taking me to is beautiful: it is where my little sisters and I will unite, through faith, wisdom, knowledge, passion, but above all, Love.