It’s time to write about women building each other up and not breaking each other apart. This summer women from around the world have helped shape me as the person I am today.
I want to apologize to everyone who had expected a blog post every week but saw that I didn’t continue after week 4. I’m sorry that I allowed myself to neglect my blog and from keeping things from you all. I hope that this post makes up for it. I wont be talking about my internship or how it ended, but about something deeper that made a huge impact in my life.
But before that I’d like to let you know that my internship was filled with mistakes and disappointments on my end and the organization’s. Although this is true, I gained new friends, a deeper love for children and affirmation that I want to empower women. Not only did my summer entail of an internship that taught me a lot and the value of hard work, but of amazing new friendships, some dancing, exploring, hiking, learning to be more self-aware, summer romances and maybe even love. It was filled with a little of everything and I would not change anything. Not even the tears and frustrations. Everything was meant to happen the way it did.
With all that being said, this summer exposed me to some incredible women. It was as if God wanted to show me that women are incredbile creatures. That women are capable of doing amazing things independently and can work together. Some of the women I met really struck a cord with me. It was like I didn’t know that women could do certain things. Each person taught me something, even if they didn’t know it. Below will be a picture and a blurb about each stunning woman who impacted me in some way.
Brilliant. I can’t express how much this person has impacted my life. She was my roommate and partner in crime, while I was in Kolkata. I grew with her intellecutally and matured so much! This incredible human being mentally pushed me to the point of me crying, but she told me something that I have kept “Nohemy, I am like this with you because I know you can handle it. You have unique experience that you have been through and can use it to understand both sides.” Ok so this is not an exact quote, but it is super close. She empowered me to speak my mind and not hold back. I thought I was confident before, but when I met Sol, thats when I truly met a woman who was so confident in her beliefs. Today, I consider her to be my best friend, an older sister. She continues to encourage me to be myself and to explore the world. She has faith in me and my capabilites and she reminds me of this daily. Thank you Didi.
Assertive. Jessica is another incredbile person I met while interning for New Light. This human being found herself in a stressful situation, as I did, but she found creative ways to move past the “drama”. She only spoke kindly about the children and saw things in a positive way about her situation with the organization. I never heard her say she wanted to give up. She was determine to to get done what she wanted. I was awed with how assertive she was with everyone in the organization. She didn’t hold her tongue but held her ground. I kept thinking that I wanted that quailty. To be so assertive because of how confident I was in myself and what I stood for.
Self-less. My new Canadian friend! I didn’t to know her super well, but the small time that I did I was so impressed by her. She is much younger than me but I never realized that till she told me her age. This young woman was traveling around India by herself, while volunteering to different organizations each time. She told me her stories of being in New Dehli and then volunteering at different schools. Her passion would glow around her when she spoke. We went to the movies and then even went dancing together…which was an interesting night on its own. Anyways, this summer I realized that women of all ages were going out to this world, exploring, helping others, and finding meaning in their own lives.
Resilient. Tereze and I met at our first couch-surfing host place. We shared a room and bed together, so our acquaintance was rather quick. I mean we had to trust one another since our stuff would be in the same room and we had to be comfortable sharing the same bed. Seriously, Tereze was just super cool. She just did everything she felt compelled to do, even if she was nervous. When she thought of doing something, she just did it. We rode all around Southern Bali together on a motocycle looking for cool beach spots, ate cheap food, and went dancing. Her strong personaility just kept me wanting to know more about her and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to meet this person. Tereze unknowingly inspired me to take chances.
Adventurous. Jakie and I met in the most oddest way possible. We met before traveling through a travel forum. She wanted to travel with someone for a bit in Bali and well we somehow made it work. This girl is seriously one of the most FEARLESS and ADVENTURE SEEKING person I have ever met. She literally jumped off a 15 meter (about 49 ft) cliff, while it took me like 30 minutes to jump off a 5 meter (about 16 ft) cliff. She trusted me enough to pick her up in a different city and then drive on a motorcycle 3 hours north. We almost had two crazy accidents and yet she was still trying to get on that bike with me. She has been independent since high school, earning her way through life and school. This inspired me so much. Women work so hard to move ahead in this world. I can’t wait to see what amazing things this girl will be up to next. I already know she will be in South America seeking another adventure very soon.
Caring. Juliet was the second couch surfer I stayed with. I was supposed to be at her home a few days earlier than I arrived. I was barely recovering from a massive motocycle accident and missed my flight because I couldn’t walk. Momma Juliet was seriously the most caring person I met during my trip. She treated me like a daughter. She would constantly ask me if I was ok and if I needed anything. She would feed me and talk to me. She has a daughter, who she takes care of on her own. She constantly works to improve her and her daughter lives. Juliet took care of me when I needed someone the most. She helped clean my scabs and wanted me to feel comfortable. Just thinking about her hospitality brings a warm fuzzy feeling in me.
Carolina (3rd girl)
Gregarious. Caro is the definition of a social butterfly. Her smile and laugh could light up a dark room. I met her towards the end of my trip in Kolkata and I’m so grateful I did. It was a group of Colombians I randomly connected with at a Latin club. I felt a wash of a homey feeling come across me. “WOW”, I remember thinking. I need to learn this from her. I want to feel connected when I speak to people and make them feel like they are the only ones in the room. The places we went together, everyone wanted to be next to her. This was incredible. Yet another trait I learned from an amazing woman.
Determination. There is so much to say about Nareth, I could probably write a book about her life and everything she has overcome. She was born missing half her left arm, but this did not hinder her growth and her love for life. I met an interesting man who had connections with almost everyone in Siem Reap. He was extrememly energetic about empowering women and seemed to enjoy every aspect of life. This man sent me a video and then connected me to Nareth. It was one of the most humbling moments of my trip. Nareth was so thrilled to show me what she was working on. She was thrilled to get to know me and wanted me to feel comfortable. She gave me a water bottle and a banana and I was blessed enough to see her smile. Her passion is sewing. Sewing has empowered her and given her hope for a bright future. She is determine to fight against her physical barriers. And for what I saw, she already has/is. Thank you Nareth for demonstrating to me that when you have hope and determination anything is possible.
Here is a link of a mini-documentary about Nareth:
The Women of Mukti
Persistent. These are the women I was able to get to know from my internship. They were working on a project called Mukti, which means liberation/freedom. This was a women empowerment project that focused on creating an alternative method of income and was a way for women to escape the sex industry and abuse that came with it. These incredible women make 80-100 sanitary naptkins every 2 hours. I helped on multiple occassions so I could get to know them. I still have all their names memorized and things they like to do. At first they were shy around me, but the more I came and the more I showed interest in their lives as women, they allowed me to be part of that sisterhood. Leaving these women was hard. When I looked at them, Ino longer saw women with a tough past nor did I pitied them. They were strong, independent, loving, self-less, beautiful women. They now and forever will be my friends.
This post wasn’t necessarily about what happened exactly during my summer abroad, but about shining a light to the women that made an impact on me. There were more people that did impact my trip, but honestly I could write a short book on it. We can all take a second in our lives to think of the women and men that have placed a puzzle in our lives. We become the people we want by being inspired. We can only be inspired when the flame inside is lit by the people we surround ourselves with. I am committed to light the flame in every women I come across. Sometimes it can be hard, but if these women didn’t give me a chance, I would have not learned such valuable lessons of what true womanhood sysmbolized. Lets committ to empowering and loving each other, rather than gossiping and pulling each other down.
Much love and till next time!