After finishing surveys in Yamaguare, Rachel and I moved on to the nearby community of Zarzal. Compared to Yamaguare, it’s economically better off, which is reflected by the residents. Many women live alone and make a small allowance selling food or clothes. Thus, they have greater control over household finances and have greater freedom of movement. They also were able to answer more abstract questions on the survey, such as
naming characteristics of men and women. Most of them responded logically, saying that there were all different kinds of men and women, thus making it difficult to generalize. This is different than in the other communities, where people would list distinctly traditional male and female characteristics.
The main street in Zarzal
Also, while we were in Zarzal, we stopped by the local health clinic and talked to the nurse working there, Oralita. We discussed common health issues that the women in the communities experienced and also asked her for advice or ideas that she may have for starting a new women’s group. Oralita serves roughly five communities in the area and has women volunteering for her in each community so she has had plenty of experience and knowledge about the people in the area. Her nephew, Alex, was also in the area and was very helpful as a translator since he could speak both Spanish and English.
Me, Rafa, Rachel, and Alex, our translator
The following day, we revisted Oralita in Cofradia, a neighboring community where she lives, to further discuss issues surround women in the community. We also met with Profesora Ursula, who heads a women’s group that teaches women in Zarzal and Cofradia how to make ceramic decorations and sell them. Both were great sources of information and gave us many suggestions. Oralita mentioned that we could talk to the men’s futbol (soccer) team to discuss domestic violence and sexual education as well. She also said that the women in the community were ready for whatever program we decide to put into place, and that all they need is the opportunity to participate. For me, these words were comforting after surveying many stoic women who I could not tell if they were truly excited about organizing a group or not.
In my next post, I’ll cover working with USC’s GWB and my adventures in Los Pajarillos.