A PROFILE OF A WOMAN. (A Tepehua Story).
My name is woman, I have the face of poverty. Like so many of my sisters I was born into poverty with a dysfunctional Father…but there was love. It was the challenges he faced that were bigger than he could handle. He escaped into the bottle and the companionship of other men who also had a cross to bear and a debt to pay for wanting love, love that soon turned into a struggle for survival.
My name is Woman. At the age of 15 my hungry heart turned to the charms of an older man of 20, whose family status outshone my own and I had his child, he was sent to the States by his family and I was left to raise the child alone. The love and support of my family was all I had, with the exception of my father who despised what I had done, we had no money but there was pride. I had lost the family pride. I was an abomination in the eyes of the church.
Trying to hide the shame I went cleaning houses and making tortilla’s to earn money for my baby instead of going to school. My love for her was fierce, a love that hurts as it overwhelmed, and confused me. The child that was still me, terrified for the future but determined my baby would have the security I had sworn to give her. The security myself and siblings did not have.
In the Barrio’s it is always difficult for men to find work, especially the isolated barrios around Lake side. Even for those who can find transport it is difficult, and as most lack a full education all the workload and planning the survival of the family falls on the woman. For the first time in my young years I realized the responsibilities a woman had, and I forgave my Mother the bitter words and the harsh orders as she called out the chores for each of us for the day, as her heart was breaking.
We all survived. I made it to womanhood and my child grew and I found love again, also an older man but he accepted my little girl and accepted me as his wife and Tepehua became our home and the home of our other four children, at the age of thirty I had five children. We had no money and couldn’t pay the rent.
On the verge of being evicted I was introduced to the Tepehua Community Center and my family and I moved into a small apartment there to be guardian 24/7 and I was given work in the kitchen and any other house task there was so that we could live rent free. I gave blessings for that because we were safe. And I began to learn. I absorbed everything like parched earth absorbs water and I grew. My little English improved, my courage swelled and I learnt pride. I had been taught by the church that pride was one of the deadly sins, but it is not, because it gave me the power to be the woman beneath…the woman I have always been but never recognized. The woman trapped in Motherhood and poverty emerged.
Eight years later, I am bi-lingual, I handle the organizations money and control the staff, I make decisions and I am President elect. They call me Sandra Zamora…I represent the women of the barrios who can take the tools of opportunity and use it to make change.
Note from the author: Many success stories have passed through Tepehua, but this author chose to tell you this story because she had the privilege of watching this young woman grow to someone extraordinary. Although dealt a hard card at the beginning, she kept her faith and her love for her world around her. Sandra will be the perfect leader for all the women of Tepehua…because she knows who they are and recognizes their soul. We all have another self that the world never see’s, we hide it for many reasons. Sandra Zamora broke free and will take many other women with her.
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