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  • karenleehall

Girls Before Women

Celebrating the Annexation of Guanacaste to Costa Rica July 25th, 2012

People filled the streets. There was dancing, traditional and otherwise. A parade, horses, local food, and I got a chance to see some Nicoya women and girls on a day off.

The interesting thing is, when I got home I couldn’t help but notice, none of them are smiling. No, these females are not to be trifled with. Guanacaste women are formidable. They rule the house, they rule their kids, and they rule their men. Most do it with lots of laughter, teasing and love. If you met any of them you wouldn’t ever point a finger and say “Iron Hand”. Yet looking at these pictures, I can’t help but notice there’s a very fierce core here, they can’t be rulers without conviction. I think of these girls as Women in Training. They are working out the language, body and otherwise, to be able to execute their lifetime roles as holders of short leashes.

Here, I’ll tell you a story. A friend (male), who is as sweet as they come, one evening wanted to go out and his wife didn’t permit it. At which point he now famously made an attempt to escape by the second floor window. But he got caught, with his fingers still on the sill and the window was brought down on them. He was left hanging there for some time, had to call out to his sister, and she released him; lifting the window to allow him to fall to the ground.

His nickname is Spiderman.

I’ll tell you another story. We have a couple of guys working here at the moment. One morning, Harry left to do things, and when the guys asked after him, I said I didn’t know where he’d gotten to, when he would be back and couldn’t call because he left the phone behind charging. We’d have to wait. Later they corner him and both ask him,” So, you’re allowed to go out — just like that?”

I was particularly interested in the teen girls that day. I wish I had had the courage to take their portraits as they passed because they were so vital, and they dressed super cool. Lot’s of excellent details in their ‘look’. (however because I was too shy to ask for their pictures, I have no examples to show you.) I could see burgeoning originality everywhere. Something that’s never in evidence with the grown women. ( Is loss of personal expression and originality one of the prices that must be paid in order to secure one’s career at holding things down in adult life?)

These girls were dancers at the parade, and I loved how they looked traveling together as a pack through the crowds. Their dresses flowed behind them like angel costumes in the Christmas pageant and they rarely ever broke formation — keeping the unit tight at all times. So here I’d like to share with you too many photos of them, demonstrating how poor my editing skills really are.

Originally published August 4, 2012

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