Gauri Vaishali Fuerez Navarrete

Surabhee Arjunwadkar - Ecuador


April 22, 2019

When I came to Ecuador, I had certain assumptions about how my life would
look like. I didn’t know anything about anything and this is one of the
things I had not expected. At all.

During my second month with my host family, I found out that my 17-year-old
host sister, Lesly, was pregnant. I had my doubts about her from the
beginning but I had given her the benefit of the doubt. However, when my
doubts were confirmed, I was in a dilemma. My notions of responsible sex,
childbearing and family were challenged. Bringing a life into this world
comes with so much responsibility. A responsibility that Lesly had to bear
because she was probably not given proper sex education, because she
probably did not know enough about safe sex and consent, because abortion
is illegal in Ecuador and many more reasons that I do not understand.

But here is what I do understand: Lesly is incredibly brave. Lesly never
missed a single day of school until she went into labour. She was given a
three-week leave. Now, her mother takes care of the baby while she is at
school. Lesly is incredibly brave for many many reasons and I can only hope
to be as brave as her one day.

On Monday, the 25th of February, at around 8.30 PM, Gauri Vaishali was born
at the public hospital in Cotacachi. The same day I came back from my
independent travel after being away from home for almost a month. In my
eyes, this was a miracle.

I am so honoured that they gave the baby two Indian names, Gauri and
Vaishali. Gauri is another name for the goddess Parvati. Vaishali was an
ancient city in India which is sacred for the Jains and also happens to be
my biological mother’s name.

At the end of this journey, the only thing I can say is that I was
incredibly lucky to have been a small part of this process, to have
witnessed this journey. Thank you.

¡Muchas gracias por todo y hasta próxima!

Surabhee Arjunwadkar