March 8th, 2019
It was international womenʼs day, and a day canʼt get any more thematic than that, right?
Another day rolled in the village of El 20. We spent the morning visiting different workshops with Raffi and Rosa, I used the time to also map the streets using Mapillary. It was incredibly hot, I think I almost caught what in Balkanʼs we call sun sickness.
Dona Ofelia sacrificed one of her turkeys for us. I canʼt properly describe the joy I felt eating that dish. Itʼs a traditional Mayan dish made of turkey cooked in a pot of burned chillies. Something about it was so old, it felt like history on a plate. I ate it almost ritualistically.
I was ready for my walk and mapping with Rosa. We were recording, mapping, analyzing every street, every corner, every pathway. I love that this became a big part of mine in our project. Otherwise I donʼt know if I would have explored and walked the village so much.
I spent most of my afternoon with the girls of the village. They there around 15-20 of them, all under the age of 14. I was playing with them, and running and chasing, I was laughing so hard. I envied them for how quick they get connected, I envied them for making friends so easy. One of the girls, Paula, completely stole my heart. She just came to me and asked me to play with her. I couldn’t help but think how slow it’s been for me making friends in Finland. Maybe I should just ask them to play with me, I laughed at the thought of how weird that would sound.
But I thought about those girls, the future they will have, the opportunities they will or will not enjoy. I felt this almost primitive protective female connection with all of them. I felt sad, because El 20 does not provide a lot of space for personal development, and I imagined their life would in a way or another be filled with hardship. So is the life of millions of women around the world. But they don’t have to think about that right now, as their world is filled with braids, glitter, and laughter. As adulthood lurks around their corner I was just honestly and wholeheartedly wanting the best for them, and I felt that to the core of my heart, the place where El 20 holds a precious spot.