Saturday, July 17, 2004


Little Nippers

One thing that Peru is definitely not lacking is children.  They are underfoot absolutely everywhere you go, and every single woman you come across seems to be holding, dragging or nursing a child (or several).  I have never before in my life seen so many pregnant women.  Everyone wants to know when Tito and I will be having babies, and seem aghast when we assure them it won't be anytime soon.  I find this attitude mind-boggling... we live with his parents, are yet unmarried, and have absolutely no money whatsoever - why on earth would we have children now?  But somehow, in South America, our attitude seems selfish.  Why should we want more stability for ourselves when God's will is that we should struggle to raise as many little nippers as He blesses us with?  Finances, marital status, and living conditions seem to be completely irrelevant in the equation.  Last night I watched a heart-rending news report about Peruvians in the mountainous areas who are experiencing one of the worse winters on record.  They clear deep snow (to find vegetation for their starving llamas) with gloveless hands; their feet are raw and chapped in their woefully inadequate rubber sandles (the Peruvians, not the llamas).  They have little food, even less fuel, and are virtually cut off from the rest of the world.  Guess what they do have oodles of, though?  Babies!  Plenty of tiny, red-faced babies clamped to nipples and school-age kids wrapped in every spare piece of clothing trudging to freezing school houses.  It is so sad that they, the women especially, have no chance to do anything with their lives other than reproduce.  And it the same here in the city, people seem to have no idea that children are expensive, and the more you have, the poorer you get.   It's not that I think money is the only factor here - repeated pregnancies, with poor nutrition and basically no healthcare, must be terribly hard on these women, tough though they are.  Yet, I must remind myself, most women in the world live like this.  Females with choices, education, careers, travel, and entertaining gadgets to satisfyingly fill our childless years are still very, very much in the minority.  Think on, post-feminists...

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