In a high-school history class, our teacher asked us to raise our hands if we considered ourselves feminists.
My hand immediately shot up.
I looked around, and I was the only one.
Growing up, feminism was something that was intrinsically instilled in me, although I didn’t know why.
According to everything and everyone around me, it was wholly unnecessary. Women’s rights had already happened, I was told.
Women could vote now, women could work outside the home if they want, women could wear what they want. Any persistence in this movement was not only superfluous but annoying.
As an active, outspoken female with positive experiences from most of the men in my life, I couldn’t help but to reluctantly agree.
But then, here in Nicaragua, on my third experience with North Country Mission of Hope, I sat down with another volunteer, Heather Frenette.
Heather, an Ohio native and niece of longtime Mission of Hope member Sister Stephanie Frenette, had put aside some money for some special need she knew would turn up on this mission trip.
That purpose became clear when mission Executive Director Sister Debbie Blow took a call about Tomasa Flores, a woman who is dying of cancer and had no bed.
“We first paid a visit to verify the situation,” Heather told me. “When we got there, we found out that she has four kids. Her oldest daughter, who speaks English, said that she just found out that her mother has uterine cancer.
“It spread rapidly across her body. She can’t move. She can’t eat. She was completely skin and bones. It was clear that she didn’t have much longer to live.
“They wanted a bed for their mother to finally rest her head on.”
The house, Heather said, is little more than four cement walls, with almost no furniture.