When You Have to Leave

My first year of college I did a lot of work around the genocide in Sudan.

Rape was a means of spreading terror and emptying villages. As has been historically proven time and time again, rape is a tactic used during armed conflict just as much as dropping bombs is a tactic. That being said, mass rape is discussed a lot less than bombs dropping though the effect is still the same: profound and devastating.

Countless women and girls in Sudan were attacked when attempting to get water.

I never fully understood it at the time. Why would they leave the tenuous safety of their home to go out for water? I mean, I knew why, but why?

It’s because you have to leave. Your body literally needs water to drink. It’s stay and starve or leave with the hope of returning safely and with something to last you another day.

Now, let me be clear, the situation in Venezuela is nowhere near the horror of what people faced in Sudan. It’s not what people in current-day South Sudan are tragically facing now.

I have not felt physically threatened.

But I have looked at my water jug, looked at my empty fridge shelves (which is a usual for me) and realized that I would have to leave my apartment building because I would need to get food and water.

So, a group of five foreign women set out for the market yesterday.

I think it reads "#Resistance (for Twitter follow) He that rests, loses. Active Trigalena" (a neighborhood affected with the blockades).

I think it reads “#Resistance (for Twitter followers); He that rests, loses; Active Trigalena” (a neighborhood affected by the blockades).

We ducked under the makeshift barbed wire, walked around the smelly trash piled in the streets, crossed the broken toilet seats and pottery that was hell incarnate on the tires of people daring to drive, and entered…

a fully bustling market overflowing with people.

All of us seemed to collectively say that we needed this. We needed to see a market packed with people selling and buying  fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, and cleaning supplies. I needed to see and hear my regular fruit vendors calling me chica and asking if that was all I was buying.

Our moods immediately lifted.

After getting the items we needed, we started walking back. There was a group of taxi drivers who said they were able to get out from around our area to a different part of town if need be. I have nowhere else to go, but one co-worker left to stay with someone else because their neighborhood is not crippled like ours is.

Rough Translation--Nicolas (Maduro--president of Venezuela) Assassin Step Down (Renounce)! This went up after the deaths at the protests.

Rough Translation–Nicolas (Nicolas Maduro–president of Venezuela) Assassin Step Down (Renounce) already! This went up after the deaths at the protests.

While juggling our purchases on the walk back, the barbed wire was about to go back up at one intersection. The man told us where to step so we could pass. We thanked him and continued on our way. Presumably, he re-strung the barbed wire.

Upon returning, the superintendent in my building delivered water straight to my door. Thankfully, a water truck was able to get through to deliver the water botellons (I don’t know how to say this word in English–those huge jugs of water that are used in offices).

So, I’m set for a little while.

And I’m loving the group of women–and all the people who have checked in with me via the internet–more and more each day.

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