The Power of Tamia

Joan Hanawi - Ecuador


November 8, 2011

Wilma is the oldest of my eight siblings, and has been a hard worker her entire life. When she was younger, she was an excellent student, a fast learner, and a dedicated scholar, but her gender constantly held her back. When she wanted to move on to study biochemistry after high school, her father told her that that was a field for rich men. This discussion sparked rivers of tears as a young, eager mind was restricted to the domestic sphere of cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. Not only did her family not have the money to send her to university, but even if they did, she wouldn’t have been permitted to attend because her help was needed as a second mom to her seven younger siblings.

But Wilma has never given up. She has taken every possible opportunity to work with different organizations and municipalities in the science field, but has given up her dreams to understand the mechanics of our natural world to work as a preschool teacher so she can spend time with her daughter. However, this doesn’t mean that Wilma works less. She is the only one out of her seven siblings that has a steady job. She still supports her siblings and their kids in addition to herself and her own daughter. And on top of this, every night, after Wilma cooks dinner, washes the dishes, and takes care of the children, she continues to stay up until around midnight to create innovative lesson plans for her preschoolers, even though she has to wake up at 5 AM to start the routine all over again.

Now, Wilma has an eight-year-old daughter named Tamia. Tamia is Kichwa for “rain,” and rain is powerful. Without rain, the rivers would dry up. Without rain, the plants would die. Without rain, the earth would be unbalanced. Without rain, we could not survive. Similarly, Tamia is powerful. Tamia is powerful because she is a girl. She is our future, and without Tamia, we would have no future. Now the question is—Will Tamia, a powerful force of nature, be able to realize her full potential?

Hopefully, in a changing world, a world of equality and empowered women, the answer to that question will be yes.

Tamia, a powerful force of nature

Joan Hanawi