August 2, 2011 - Gualán, Guatemala

Yesterday, I went with the Director to the technical college to pay for one of our program participants tuition and fees. She gave us a tour of the school, and the first thing that I noticed was that there were not girls. She finally took us to the classroom where the girls were, and it was a cosmotology course. WTH?!

So, today, I asked the participant why there werent many girls at his school and why none of the girls at his school took the mechanics courses like he did. He responded, "Oh, that's not work for a woman." Instant neck roll. "Excuse me?!" Then he gets to telling me that women wont work once they get a husband anyway so it doesnt matter. Men don't want their women working outside the home, because she might find another man, but its okay if the man has sexual relations outside of his marriage, not the woman. I said, "You cannot possibly believe that. If you don't want to share your wife with another man, why would you think that your wife wants to share you with another woman?" I went on and on about how unfair this was. And he ended saying, "Well, those are your thoughts. Most women don't think like you here." As if to say that women here are okay with this. I refuted, "They probably don't say anything about it, because it is socially acceptable. Women probably don't take mechanics courses, because it's NOT socially acceptable."

I had to get to the bottom of this. So, I had the tuk tuk driver, on my way back, drop me off a store I am familiar with where it is this teenage girl that seems to be a little less timid than most of the women here. I wanted to ask HER what she thought about these macho remarks. I didn't know how I was going to start the conversation, but I would cross that bridge when I got there.

Yes!! She was at the store, working on a project. I just said hello and asked what she was doing, and just when I was moving to switch the topic...here come her daddy! Now, how am I supposed to ask her about what she thinks about the role of women in society here with her no shirt wearing daddy towering over us! He begain talking to me, but I was SO uninterested in what he was saying. He did say that he was surprised that I knew enough Spanish to carry on a conversation, which I think most people are here...which is probably why at first people don't talk to me....I wanted to know her opinion. Darn it! #Mission Failed

So, I retreated by writing my email down for her to look for me on Facebook and told her that I was leaving in a few days so I just wanted to come over and give her that.

Later on, we had a going away get together for an American student here that was visiting for a few days. The girl who liked the boy who has to wait for a year was there...and the boy as well. She made me a card and in it was how much she enjoyed our conversations. Then, she whispered in my ear that she wanted a Facebook, but she didn't know how to do it. Now, the boy she likes has a Facebook, but do you think he wants her having one? I'll answer that, "No!" So, I had to help my sister out Vamos! We went upstairs to get on my internet to make her an account.

Her prospective boyfriend must have gotten suspicious about what we were doing, because he came upstairs with his friend inquiring, like he is somebody, about what we were doing. I quickly closed the web browser and said, "Nothing! Go done stairs, we are having girl talk." I think he got a little upset so the girl looked at me with puppy eyes and said, "Uh oh, I think he is upset." as if she didn't want to do it anymore. You know my response, "Girl bump him, lets finish handling our business." She already was trying to create her email name after him..who is he?! Gone with that. So, we finished and I wrote down all her names and passwords so that she wouldn't forget. I told her to go to the internet cafe this weekend and finish doing her profile and that someone there could help her.

Ahhh...my job here is done. But I am still on the hunt to figure out the female side of the story to their position in this society.

1 Comment

September 20, 2011
ahahahah. a modern woman trying to understand the role of women in old traditional cultures is like trying to figure out aliens.
interesting to see that is has nothing to do with religion. wheter they are cathos, muslams or hindus, the role of women remains quite similar in what can be seen as ancient types of societies.
i've meditated and tried to understand this subject for years. as for what you express, i find that in such societies the men get much freedom, and the women have to stay at home taking care of business. seems quite unfair from my modern woman's eyes.
but this subject is too long for a short comment. i was just surfing through some fuzzy blogs and found yours. what a journey you are making:) ive been thinking of writing a note about women and mens roles in societies for a while now. your note brings me a little bit of motivation to tackle this huge subject.

to resume my thoughts on the matter. the first women revolution was nescessary for the well being of men and women alike. women came out of the closet, it was a nice first step. but now comes a new time, its time for their second revolution. and that is in becoming women again, instead of wanting to compete with men, and revalidate the value of women taking care of families. something along those lines.

keep on tripping with your open eyes and sharing your thoughts. happy to have discovered your blog today. go on girl for the love of women and men together living to create harmonious societies:)
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