This is Clara from Nicaragua, the woman pictured on the left holding the baby. She's 33 and lives in this adobe shack. It's handmade adobe from mud, straw, rocks, and it crumbles when it rains.
Clara is very poor. She makes about $100 a year from picking coffee. She brought her extended family, her mom, daughters and their husbands, niece, to live with her because they were all homeless. The house has huge brown spiders (I saw one, yuck) living in the cracks and scorpions.
Clara and her family often go without food, sometimes up to three days. Clara told me that it is hard raising a family (her youngest is three) on her own, especially when the kids are hungry, but she "doesn't want a man." She said she'd rather go it alone because she had a man in her life and he drank and made things worse. Meaning, he used all the money they earned from picking coffee for liquor instead of the food they need.
To hear this in a very male-dominated culture, where many poor woman wouldn't dream of NOT having a man around the house, was very refreshing. I actually raised my fist in the air and said, "YES!"
I told our translator to say this to Clara: "You go girlfriend. You rock. You are right. You don't need a man. I have faith in you that you can do it and your life will improve. You are a very strong woman. Good for you!"
She smiled at me.