Quoted below is one of many phrases the World Bank collected from 60,000 ‘poor people’ from 60 different countries who were asked “What does it mean to be poor?”
An Indigenous Ecuadorian answered, “What determines poverty or well-being? The indigenous people’s destiny is to be poor”
I wish I could tell that indigenous sister she has been lied to. Our destiny is not determined by indigenous blood, nor does indigenous blood mitigate our value…
My mother returned from Ecuador a couple of days ago, and we had a conversation about skin. About history. About mestizaje. About womanhood. For the first time in my life, I heard my mother say “Somos Indios y Negros”, ‘We are Indian and Black’. She left out the European that I remember her mentioning many times growing up.
I can focus on poverty in Ecuador among specific groups: Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorians, I can talk about colonialism again and how it’s still relevant, but Instead I want to celebrate indigenous, black and mestiza women from Ecuador. The indigenous woman who is portrayed in international images to promote tourism and then belittled and called “Maria” along with every other woman in the market: the woman who is never asked what her name is: You are Beautiful. This is for the Afro-Ecuadorian woman who is overlooked by Ecuadorians and rarely presented to the world as part of our culture: You are Beautiful. This is even for the mixed woman who chooses to identify only with her European roots: You are Beautiful. This is for women who live stained by the remnants of colonialism.You are Beautiful.
Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian women are the most impoverished in Ecuador. Uplifting my sisters through promoting self-love and confidence is crucial for all of our destinies. I Though I look like that majority in Ecuador, I know what it feels to be seen as minority in the States. I know the feeling of inferiority and the challenge it was to unlearn that mindset. I consider it a responsibility to trash the idea of poorness, because poorness is not a term deserving to be associated with who we are or what we are destined for. Nor is it deserving to be associated with Ecuador’s rich culture, customs, diversity and beauty.
Psalm 132:15 (NIV) I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor I will satisfy with food.
Ecuadorian women are beautiful, diverse and rich in all ways imaginable. BELIEVE THAT.