Amazonian Women

Brian Riefler - Ecuador

November 27, 2012

As Thanksgiving is coming up, I remind myself of all the things I am grateful for in my life. I’m blessed with food on my plate, a roof over my head, my health, and the best friends and family in the world. I do not always recognize the people I should be thankful for and the hard work they do. Some people are unsung heroes, working behind the scenes . One such person that comes to my mind is the employee who used to work for my host family. She would cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner, hand wash dishes and clothes, sweep the floors, and do many other domestic chores. And since she is only 16 years old, she also had her schoolwork. Her work ethic is inspiring. Unfortunately, she recently became pregnant and had to leave. Thus, I have had to help out with the chores she normally did, and I have a deeper appreciation for everything she did. Although I worry a lot that she will not be able to balance home life and schoolwork since she is so young to be pregnant, her perseverance will carry her far. This work ethic is not unique to her; however; it is common amongst all Amazonian women.

Another girl whom I admire is a shop attendant who lives nearby. I was helping her with her English homework, when her father told her to go back to work. Fluent in English, he told me that she does not have a brain—she forgets everything—and she should be focusing on her duties in the store where they live. She is anything but forgetful. She is studying English to work in hotel administration, and knows advanced vocabulary such as “facilities,” “services,” and “discounts. I am thankful for her dedication, and I am also thankful every time she helps get me something when my host family and I need it, whether it be tuna, tomatoes, or eggs.

Both of these girls balance home life and schoolwork incredibly well, and I am thankful for all the hard work that they do. Not only am I thankful for the women here in Ecuador, but for all the women in my life at home.

Brian Riefler