Finding New Strength

10 Jan

Color painting of mother and child with gunBeing a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know exist.
– Linda Wooten

It’s 2013, a new year.  A time to start off fresh.  Far too much time has lapsed since I’ve last written.  I once again find myself inspired to write, in fact I’ve been missing writing.  It’s a kind of creative sounding board for me personally, and I really enjoy reading the feedback I receive from my friends and readers.

The past seven months have been quite a whirlwind.  So much evolution and change in such a short time.  And the most significant of those changes has yet to be revealed.  I could rehash all that has come about in my life, and the world, in the past year but it wouldn’t accomplish much.  At this moment, my mind is occupied with all the change that is about to unfold in my life and how I will manage to “fit” it all in to the measly 24 hours we get in a day.  And then I start to think about how all the women that came before me did it.  *Sigh*

It brings me back to one of the many grounding experiences of my life – Esteli, Nicaraguaga.  It is the third largest city in all of Nicaragua.  It’s an eclectic place that really doesn’t see many foreigners or tourists, or at least that was Esteli 10 years ago when I was there.  The town’s motto pretty much sums it up – “Lover of the present. Builder of the future.”  But what really brings me back to Esteli is how it’s history has redefined life, and despite the bloodshed has brought forth a new found strength and resilience in the people.  Esteli was the scene of perilous fighting during the Somoza regime and again during the U.S.-backed Contra War.  The lands outside of the city boundary are still riddled with land mines and the ghosts of wars past regrettably live on.

As we made our way through the city’s gritty streets and alley ways, we gleaned nuggets of hope and strength.  We played soccer with a group of kids playing on a field of dirt with a ball that was made of plastic bags tightly packed together & wrapped with string and tape.  We found beauty in the paintings and graffiti that adorned cement walls throughout the city, the very cement walls that served as a fortress for people’s homes during the recent wars.  And then one day we wound-up at a local women’s organization where we were given a “tour” of the center and learned through the testimony of one woman – how women survived and  even thrived in the war.  In Esteli, unlike in many parts of Latin America and the world, women are seen a bit differently.  They are respected for their strength and perseverance at a kind of unspoken kind of higher level.  Why?  What makes Esteli’s perspective of women different?  The difference lies in the impact that its history has had on shaping daily life.  During both recent wars in Esteli, most often the men went off to war in the rural areas and the women remained at home with the children to defend their homes & children while the war raged on right in the city boundaries.  Women, mothers, were armed with AK-47s – just as the men were.  There was very little that differentiated the roles of men and women during a decade and a half of bloodshed.   Women grew stronger than ever before – not just in fighting – but in standing-up for their rights.  In owning their individual personal power.

Days like today when I feel overwhelmed and wonder how on earth am I going to “do it all” in just a couple of months.  I stop and think about the women of Esteli.  They have endured far more than I will likely ever have to – or maybe its similar but just in a different time, place and form.  I think of these women, mothers, that came before me.  Many that had to face the blood of their children, husbands, and family members right before their eyes.  Many that endured the other ugly parts of war like rape, lost limbs, and hunger.  While I may not be from Nicaragua, I am forever grateful to these women.  The examples they have set for me, and all of us, are invaluable – especially now as I take this next giant leap in my life.  Their strength and resilience is simply inspiring.

Below is a visual “tour” through some of the streets of Esteli and the wall artwork that gives the city a most unique identity and essence.  Start with the painting at the top of the blog and slowly work your eyes through the images.  Enjoy!

Wall painting on finghting for freedom

Corner in bloom with graffiti

Wall painting of children building a new future

 

wall art of children coming together

Wall painting in color on human rights

Wall painting of women's strength rising

2 Responses to “Finding New Strength”

  1. rainworks January 11, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    Bec, a wonderful observation. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jen January 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Congratulations Rebecca, you’ll be a great mother.

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