WOW! This is an unexpected theme for travel. It is thought provoking at the least. When I think of Women’s Day, I see women in positions of power … add International to the stew pot, I see women in positions of power all the way down to women oppressed. Rather, our North American notion of oppressed. What we see for those of different cultures, they may be of a different opinion. That does not make their opinions wrong or right, only makes them theirs and we truly have no right to voice ours against theirs. I sit here in the comforts of my home, reflecting on my life. At one point I was successful in my own right, now not so much but still a far cry from the opposite. I look around my adopted country and see very few women of power in this male dominated society. Women may be in power here in their own kitchen but it’s still a bit rare outside of it. For the most part, they are happy enough. This is a country where everything is in contrast.
Prostitution is rampant in Dominican Republic. It pays the bills and buys them their luxuries. It’s sad to think of young girls turning tricks for a pair of coveted shoes. This is the dark side of today, the exploitation of people. It’s not only women, but men, boys, and girls as well that are turning tricks. IWD is supposed to be about women progressing to positions of power and pride and self worth. And, it is. Some countries are slow to allow women to progress. This is one of them. It is heaps better than it ever was, but there is still a very long way to go. When you have a classist society it takes longer. Yes the women that are educated and in positions of power come from the upper class. It’s a struggle for the lower classes to make it to the top, but some do! Kudos to them. I need to be clear that in Dominican Republic, most women here are NOT prostitutes, most are average workers and housewives. The one thing this country does not have but is trying very hard to accomplish is equality for women. It has made great strides but has far to go. There are a lot of “ism’s” here. Ageism, sexism …. It is not uncommon to see an advertizement for a job posting to give a very graphic description of age and body measurements for a Receptionist position for example.
That aside, as I previously mentioned, this is a country of contradictions. There are some very strong women here. Historically, women have displayed much strength also. During the Trujillo years, 3 sisters stood against Trujillo. It ultimately cost them their lives. Their history, a proud history, their conviction of strength against the dictator was and is … a matter of National pride! Research some history on Las Mariposas, las hermanas Mirabal. In the dark days of Trujillo, they were heroines. Heroines then, and now!
What can we do? Hope, pray, and educate. Educate the young ones and the old. Educate the males and the females. Teach them that they have VALUE and that they are valued.
I once had an aunt, bless her, bless her real good, she was a sister in the Catholic Church. She went on many missions with Terre Sans Frontiere, http://www.terresansfrontieres.ca/new-tsf/fr/, “Terre Sans Frontières is an organization for international development working towards the sustainable development of disadvantaged people in developing countries.” I often wanted to follow in her footsteps. She was a unique individual. She loved EVERYONE without hesitation, unconditionally, and irrevocably. Nothing would deter her passion for people and extending hope to them. She died in Nairobi from a stroke she had in the Republic of Congo, Africa fighting a war to to restore the vital forces of people experiencing violence and extreme poverty in developing countries. She was a messenger of hope and love. Soeur Alice Trudeau, you are remembered world wide. She was the youngest in a large French family from a small farming community, raised in a day were women had few rights. Her love of life and of the human spirit lead her to a life with the church. She was educated by the church in the stream which she loved, helping people. She was a pioneer for International Women.
We once had an amazing conversation about war and the military. I was stunned by her view. Mother General of her order, I had expected with all the love in her heart that war would have been a condemned action. I received the very opposite reaction. She looked at me and said, “My good friend (she labeled me friend, not niece, as my mind hears her voice I get tears in my eyes), sometimes war is needed. If not for wars and fighting, we would have no rights. Bless all those that fight for our freedoms.” We went on chatting and I mentioned that I was surprised at her comments. She enlightened me that without these freedoms, women would not have the freedom that we have. That she herself, though a nun, would never have had the freedoms to be educated and to go into the world to help the needy. Very wise indeed. This was the last visit we had before she returned to Africa. She went on and finished her beer, lol, yes my aunt the nun, loved the occasional beer, another surprise. “Maybe,” she said, “you’ll be the first female Roman Catholic priest,” she raised an eyebrow simultaneously with her glass of beer and toasted the notion. Oh my dear Alice, my friend, how I miss you, and if you are watching me … NO I am not going into the priesthood! 🙂
Regarding war, Alice looked at me and her final thought about the soldiers was, “And they loved us into freedom.”
My focus is on the Dominican Republic and sustainable development of disadvantaged people in this developing country. Though this is IWD, I don’t want to discriminate against males. I want equality for all. Women here need that equality. Through education they will become self-sustaining and feel their worth and be able to move forward in society.
I challenge the world, for your women and children, love them into freedom through education and thus giving them the freedom to soar to unimaginable heights.
Alice, I love you, and thank you for being my inspiration for many years past and for continuing to be!
for offering up the challenge of this assignment.
Listen to the palms…
© Loca Gringa and https://locagringa.wordpress.com