“Women Are Not Heard”

This is a poem I really like by Guatemalan feminist poet, author, and recipient of UNICEF’s Communication Award, Carolina Escobar Sarti:

“Las Mujeres No Se Oyen”
No se oyen
pero escuchan.

Están sentadas
en la parte de atrás.

Cuando por fin alzan la mano,
descubren el rostro
de una palabra
con ojos de liebre asustada
que huye
de las cocinas
de los cuartos
y las salas
para asomarse
-aunque sea por un instante-
a un lugar sin paredes
pero con alma.

This is the best that I (and my Spanish dictionary) could do with the English version, although I’m afraid something is lost in translation:

“Women Are Not Heard”
No sound,
but listen.

in the back.

When they finally raise their hands,
discover the face
one word
with eyes frightened hare
of kitchens
and rooms
to peek
-if only for a moment-
to a place without walls
but with soul.

While we are on the subject of words being lost in translation, and since it is Nelson Mandela’s 92nd birthday today, I would like to share a Mandela quote that’s meant a lot to me lately:
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Learning Spanish is something that I wish I had more time to dedicate to, but with a full day of volunteering at TRAMA it is hard to fit in Spanish lessons. You might think that living in a Spanish-speaking country would be enough; but I find myself repeating the same simple and familiar phrases while grocery shopping at the market and visiting the bank. However, I arrived in Guatemala knowing little more than “Hola, cómo está?” so it can’t be denied that I have improved. Learning a new language can be frustrating, especially when you feel you’ve hit a plateau in your progression. This quote is just some inspiration to do my best to soak up all of the Spanish that I can! Some people think that learning the language of a country is not that important because a lot of people speak at least some English. This quote perfectly expresses why it is always more effective and appreciated when you at least try to speak the language of the country you are in.


One thought on ““Women Are Not Heard”

  1. although you’re probably repeating the same things over and over, that is good… do you understand what people say back yet??

    learning a new language can be frustrating, just keep it up and don’t be afraid to speak! Love you can’t wait to read and see more.

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