By: Ninfa Parker
As we ventured outside our normal route, Natalie and I discovered a road that we had not come across before. The path quickly narrowed as it demonstrated the signs of soil erosion. This season’s heavier than normal rain falls have carved unsteady footpaths. Walking past a Champa (makeshift house), we observed an elderly women chopping bamboo with a machete. She was constructing a fence in order to support a large tarp. The rainfall had proven too heavy for her Champa to handle. “The waters enter my home too quickly, too fast,” Señora Rosa explained. Rosa is left to care for the maintenance of her home alone because her husband, a security guard at the nearest Mega Mall, is often gone for long periods of time. Though Rosa works tirelessly to maintain her home, the need for her husband’s help is evident.
We walked into her home with helping hands. Señora Rosa invited us to take a seat, however we rolled up our sleeves and began to help her with the fence. Using our feminine ingenuity our small group of three women constructed a sturdy fence out of bamboo and string. Working together afforded us the opportunity to share our stories. We quickly learned that Señora Rosa understands the destructive reality of gang violence which is responsible for the loss of her two sons. She relocated to the Milagro de Dios community 11 months ago after losing her previous home to a mudslide, yet she emphatically declares herself to be blessed. Though Rosa has experienced great struggle she has not allowed life’s unjust circumstances to prohibit her optimistic spirit .
Her Champa is surrounded by flowers, vegetables, chickens and ducks. Upon finishing the fence, she lit her firewood stove and brewed some coffee. The hours flew by as she walked us through her small property explaining the various herbs, vegetables, and fruits. We sat as she explained to us their hygienic, medicinal, and nutritional value. “I enjoy living among the coffee beans and corn,” stated Rosa, “I feel safe here.” Señora Rosa enjoys the tranquility of her community however she desires to see her neighbors unified. She mentioned various “small projects” such as adult literacy that she would like to implement in Milagro de Dios. She also hopes to see her neighbors cooperate in a harvest that will benefit the entire community not just individual families.
Rosa’s ability to create with limited resources is testimony to the strength of women in the midst of daily struggles. As the people of God we hope to come alongside women such as Rosa in their efforts to unify their communities toward education, nutrition, sanitation, and agriculture.