In Spanish, ‘fuerza’ is the word for strength. Here at the Women’s Intercultural Center in Anthony, NM, women are coming to find fuerza in each other and themselves.
Ilse Arrieta is a program coordinator at the center for a three-day camp for teen girls called Feminine Fuerza.
Arrieta is not a teenager anymore, but she can relate to the hardships. She and her husband have just recently reunited back in the United States.
“Well I try to help what I know. Like my husband was over there for almost 2 years…it really takes more time for Mexico to get your papers done.”
While all that was going on, Arrieta went through the unthinkable as a mother to be.
“When I was pregnant…I started having lots of bleeding and the doctor told me I had lost the baby…two weeks after that…they found out the baby was still alive.”
She named her baby Itzae, Spanish for “gift of god.”
This year marks the fifth year the center has hosted over a dozen teenage girls.
Mary Carter, the center’s executive director says none of these women are victims.
“The thing about it is you have to see that…we don’t believe in anybody as a victim because they’re not.”
The camp discusses health issues for teens and last year, social media was a topic of conversation.
“It’s very different from generation to generation…we had a little training on why certain things should be private and should not be passed on to anybody.”
The Women’s Intercultural Center here considers itself a place for education. It avoids taking political stances, even when the community would like it to.
But there’s one view carter personally takes.
“Hispanic women are very strong and resilient…overcome issues…finish strong…the tough part is reminding them how strong they are.”