the place you know as home
knife-rent with war, terror and fear.
To conceive, from your comfy, cozy world
having no rights as a woman,
birthing one child after another,
property used, abused by a man,
complying to survive, the constant
press of family, religion and tradition.
To grasp in your mind
no opportunity or hope for the future,
a dirt-floored shelter
where some days you can’t afford
more than beans and tortillas
to cook on the wood fire,
where you work tied to a loom
tethered to a tree or
in a cornfield with your child
bundled to the back of you
for a few quetzales each day.
You cannot –
take in how she struggles –
And yet with just a tiny
hand up, so much can change –
skipping some morning stops for coffee
can provide a needed health exam or
foregoing a nice dinner out could offer
an elegant, ebony-haired woman,
in finely-woven, brightly-colored traje,
a sister, mother, grandmother really,
the support to initiate a livelihood, so she
can know her worth, be empowered,
use her intelligence and creativity
to weave a life she can take pride in.
Carolyn Chilton Casas co-founded the Friendship Bridge Las Perlas del Mar circle on the CentralCoast of California, along with her friend, Lonna Crane in 2012. With her husband, she operates a family agricultural business on the Central Coast of California as well as being a writer, a poet, an artist and a Reiki practitioner. She also raises funds for an organization in Nicaragua that supports children for their education. For a number of years, she volunteered for Flying Samaritan clinics in Mexico as an interpreter.