Bolivia: Women Who Inspire, as they Breathe and Dream

In indigenous cultures, female intuitions and sensibilities linked to ancestors and to Mother Earth prove decisive for the journey of the community during the time of the pandemic.

Among the Andean and Amazonian peoples, women have many faces and ways of being and living, that wonderful diversity that becomes unity in struggles and common actions for the care of nature and people.

During this pandemic period, women continued to stand up, like trees, connecting with their deepest roots to relearn from the natural medicine their ancestors practised and weave it together with current forms of medicine in order to restore health to families and communities. Pope Francis in the book Let’s Dream Again writes that “Women have been the most affected and the most resilient in this crisis”. This is a form of female resilience present in different peoples.

Today, like yesterday, women take on their present situation with one ear attentive to Mother Earth and the other to humanity to listen to the life that pulsates in the world. They gather around the fire to share what they have heard and to understand together the paths that take care of life.

They search by sinking their feet into the ground where their roots feed on the memories of grandmothers, as they connect with the experiences of women who live in other territories. Thus, all the women enter a vast network where they walk together, with hope, with a steady and confident step, neither getting stuck nor running away. They live in the present, attentively observing the Divinity that expresses itself in daily life and opening their hands to new possibilities of being, existing and acting.

The wisdom of ancestral peoples states that Mother Earth has a female face. In the indigenous world, it is the women who work in different roles such as the education of children, the transmission of the faith and the gospel, human promotion, and decision-making. In this way, they contribute, with their sensitivity, to ecclesial synodality.

This sensitivity is experienced by indigenous women who may be kilombolas, urban women, river or peasant women and this brings about socio-environmental transformation, opening the way to economies that take care of interpersonal and intergenerational ties. It is the women who, together, regenerate life. The current context urgently calls for independence in the midst of a competitive social system and these women inspire as they breathe.

That is, they do not seek individualistic protagonism, but live, breathe and provoke pathways of vital co-responsibility from everyday life. For this reason, the request for the Final Document of the Synod on the Amazon n.  101 acquires all the more importance: “It is asked that the voice of women be heard, that they be consulted and participate in the decision-making process” so that the sensitivity of women may continue to inspire all to live in community, in synodality.

(Tania Ávila Meneses)

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