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Outstanding unsung women

They are here in Guyana, and they grow in numbers, yet we rarely, if ever, speak of them. Against the huge negative of the dark, dismal swamp of absentee males, we almost never find the time to speak to the great and inspiring positive of those who reside in the midst. They would be those unheard of, unspoken of, unheralded women taken for granted.

From every corner and every circle, the tradition reigns and the comfort comes from shining the spotlight on the woes brought about by irresponsible males. Those who father children out of wedlock and then are not around, for all intents and purposes. Given the more modern lifestyles now prevalent, there are those absentee and uncaring fathers, who were part of the wedded circle at one time, but who are now by choice or circumstances are everywhere else, except in the home where they belong, where they are most needed.

It used to be and still is one kind and colour of such fathers, such men, at whom were directed the bulk of the blames and laments about here today, but gone tomorrow, and with all the burdens of parenthood left uncaringly behind. But those errant and nonchalant men, also as is evident in split families, are no longer mostly the default of one racial group, or one mentality, or one economic level of activity and result. The gap is still wide, but the company of males, who are either absentee fathers, or irresponsibly missing parents, now has different kinds of faces.

It is against these contexts that we take the opportunity to recognise our single women, left to fend on their own for those that are theirs. We appreciate them and we applaud them for their quiet sacrifices, their dogged determination not to be overcome by circumstances that leave them hanging on to hope by a thread, while scrambling for daily survival, but never giving up on either their humanity, their responsibility, and their dignity.

We look and see women, who never came out of the domestic home shared before, but take the first brave, trembling steps to be the mothers and leaders in their homes. Women who, by their quiet powerful example, take charge of their own destiny singlehandedly and care for their young and groom them to get by day by day, while investing in the future. And we hail these simple, single women and mothers, who grab hold of their own futures, without fear and with the fiercest of convictions that they can and will rise above the hand that fate has played upon them.

There they are in Guyana. Having been abandoned by men, who once said that they loved them and will partner with them and care for the families that they, together, brought into this world, these single women put their heads down, gather their feet, and go forth into a world that, with the passage of time, they fear no more. They sell food from humble stands on the corners of many a city street. Many times, they clean homes out of sight, but always to make food visible on the table for their little ones. Sometimes, they take care of those left in their charge; it is where those who have been disappointed with love, must still find love within them to comfort others, total strangers.
Our single female parents occupy a range of spaces in the national universe. They can be a mix of the decently educated alongside those who are mostly dropouts, but are still dreaming of starting over again. They can be situations where there is a support system of caring relations, or those whose noses are rubbed in the dust for failing at the first lesson, which was that of not listening to tried and true wisdoms. And, in quite a number of instances involving our single mothers, there is simply nothing, as in no one who is in a position to help, one who is mentally or spiritually or financially able to lend a shoulder in times of dire need. But they still go on to whatever waits, however little it may be.

We laud these single mothers. We are blessed by them.

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