Don't get me wrong -- i love waking up to sweet breezes and the rustle of coco palms. I even love cleaning out the tiny mango flowers that grace my pool, because it means mangoes are soon to come.
But of all the things i love and despise about living in Nicaragua, perhaps what i despise most is leaving my house -- or just having the door open -- and having some man make a dirty comment about my appearance, or how he loves me, or how boo-dee-full i am, or sometimes even things that are a lot dirtier. On occasion it makes me look forward to the time when i will be back to being just another American, worrying and wondering where i'm going to live and whether to rent or buy, or to get cable or not...or all those mundane decisions i had wanted to leave behind for a time...
Occasionally i just cannot keep my mouth shut and i erupt with "no hablas como un cerdo!!" -- don't talk like a pig! -- and the culprit whirls around laughing, walking away unaffected by my outburst.
It's a part of the culture here, and one that many Latina women accept, but given the option to have it or not, i guess they would opt for not.
I've written about it before, and Pink Pangea published my account of tween catcalling today.
Here in Nicaragua, people have a history of revolt and of standing up for the most egregious of human mistreatment. The Sandinista revolution was a triumph that toppled a brutal dictatorship -- albeit one that was followed by many new foibles -- but it was one that taught the people here that there is power in their words and power in banding together. Perhaps catcalling and the mistreatment of women is not high on the list when hunger and low pay are still so pervasive, but when i can't get my door closed fast enough before a group of teen boys walks by to hiss at both me and my daughter, it makes me wish to see even more activism among the women, the young, and all the people who still struggle in this beautiful country.
I love what the young people at Bananatee are doing -- using art to spread their message about diabetes research and to create activist messages. Maybe if i wore a t-shirt that said "Don't catcall me" it would help? Or maybe i could drive around with one of these funny mom car decals, advertising my objection to catcalling? Hmmm...