There are two young women in the village, cousins, who work as research assistants for our project. One has a scholarship to study law at the private university. The other also works as a bilingual teaching aid while studying education at the public university. When you ask them why they are continuing their education when so few around them even finish high school, they both answer that they want to help their community. Knowing the law will help in the fight for indigenous rights; having a teaching degree means being able to work “wherever I am most needed, here, or another town, or in the interior where there aren’t many teachers.”
They both take classes at night, taking two buses to reach their universities. By the time they are coming home, the buses have stopped running. This means they sometimes walk the last leg, alone, in the dark.
Last week, they both were scared into wanting to quit. One was followed and harassed by two men on a motorcycle, and the other was robbed. These are strong young women, who are expending great effort to get an education, but they are not invincible. What nobody told them is that security is a privilege that they are apparently not yet worthy of having.