A woman in Managua

When we travel we often redefine ourselves. Being in a new environment with our comfort zone suddenly taken from us we need to decide how we fit in the new surrounding.

Managua has been very good at telling who I am here.

In Managua, I am a piece of meat.

As someone who spends a certain amount of time every day walking the streets of Managua I have encountered time after time after time men who take it upon themselves to make a commentary on my looks and taking the time to tell me what they would like to do to me.

A car full of men hanging out of the window like dogs in heat.
An ice cream seller on his bike.
A young man in a suit crossing the street.
A cab driver taking me to work.
An old man sitting on a bench.
A man slowing down so he can walk behind me.

As I walk home from the supermarket I feel the tension rising and the anger flaring at the situation that these pigs are putting me in. Why should I fear going out? Why should I not wear a tank top or shorts? Why should I have to look at every man that walks by or every car that slows down with suspicion?

And be assured, I don’t let them go by without letting them know exactly what I think of them and their worth… But after firing my harsh words 4 different times in less than 10 minutes I feel tired, a walk that could have been pleasant has now turned to an anxiety filled race to my destination – scared to make eye contact and throwing away the possibility of making meaningful connections with people.