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We are half way through this crazy adventure and I am beginning to realize that it is only going to get more intense and meaningful for me. These past few days have been a buzz of activity which we have managed to cram into our daily routine. We still have to devote three hours to cooking everyday but for the most part we know what we are doing. Learning to survive is no longer our central concern. 

We have also moved on from our initial interviews and have chosen eight families to film and research. The few in depth interviews we have done have already began to reveal a level of complexity and hardship that I have never understood before.

Last Saturday we joined Rosa Cos Bocel at the local elementary school, the same place where we teach English classes during the week. Each Saturday she teaches a class of twenty women over the age of 15 how to speak Spanish. However, it quickly became apparent that no one was going to come that Saturday. Watching her I could tell that she was deeply frustrated and hurt that the women had chosen to forgo the free education that she was providing. We found out later that they had all gone to a meeting to pick up free fertilizer from the government. From watching her I quickly assumed that she was one of the most educated people we had talked to. She clearly had an appreciation of education that few others have in this community.

After the disappointment of the failure of the morning class, we followed her back to her house where we conducted the first of our in depth financial diary interviews combined with filmed background questions. I quickly found out that Rosa, who is a twenty year old single women that lives with her family, had to drop out of school in sixth grade to work.

Rosa´s family is extremely poor. She spoke about times in her life when all they had to eat was salt and tortillas. She explained they were now fortunate enough to have rice with their tortillas three times a week, beans with their tortillas four times a week and chicken once every eight days. When I learned that her brother and father both worked for a construction company I was immediately stuck at my core with a new sense of understanding. For the past four summers I have worked for a local construction company. Knowing from experience how hard construction work is I can´t imagine only eating salt and tortillas. I barely have energy to manage our daily activities in Peña Blanca from our relatively better diet of rice, beans and lard.

However, Rosa hasn´t let poverty get in the way of her dream of becoming a nurse. She has put herself through three more grades by studying on Saturdays and has started teaching the Spanish classes this past year. 

She has done all of this while providing her family with the help of a microfinance loan for a weaving business that her and her mother have started. Had the help of this loan come seven years earlier I wonder if Rosa could have graduated highschool on time, like her brother did this past fall? I can only hope that Rosa is able to pursue her passion for education but our interviews are quickly revealing a level of poverty in this community that far surpasses our initial estimates.


 

Mom
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Anxiously waiting to hear more of your interviews. I can not imagine living on that diet. Certainly makes me stop and think

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