Women who put my 2020 in perspective

We’ve all got a lot on our minds on this particular Sunday. If you’ve even had the mental energy to click “open” on this email, I salute you. But I’m writing this post to share an experience that, while very connected to the difficulties of life today, really helped me take a breath and put some of the challenges of 2020 in perspective.

Earlier this year, I won a Creative Grant from Costa Rica’s Ministry of Culture to carry out interviews with women in San Josés comunidades urbanomarginales. These low-income communities can range from neighborhoods that look fairly standard for San José, to tin-roofed shantytowns, often built along riverbanks or other unsafe terrain. I wanted to ask women about their experiences during the pandemic, how they’ve gotten through it, and how they think these crises could be better handled.

Our conversations reminded me that, while certain moments in history can have a huge impact for years to come, there is also a continuum of injustice and justice, weariness and energy, selfishness and generosity that began long before any of us were born, and will continue on. The resilience of these women shows us how we can tip the scales towards goodness from wherever we are.

I hope to continue these interviews next year through El Colectivo 506, because I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the deep reserves of wisdom and knowledge that exists in these communities. I also hope that, today or at some point over the coming weeks, you’ll find a moment or two to skim these short reflections from Verónica, Corina, Elizabeth, Sara, Yamileth, and Berlín. You can see them all at https://medium.com/five-questions-2020/. 

Wishing all these women, and all of us, fortitude during the days ahead.

I run the virtual volunteer community Costa Rica Corps and am the co-founder of the new, bilingual media organization El Colectivo 506. I also work as a freelance grantwriter, fundraiser, and communications coach, and write essays, articles and books. I live in San José with my husband and daughter. Sign up at top right to receive an essay in your inbox each Sunday morning: a chance to dominguear together (a lovely word that literally means, “to Sunday,” and describes a leisurely trip or ramble). We’ll explore a project, changemaker, community, or idea I’ve come across, or just watch the world go by. See you next Sunday!