Nicaragua: Eulalia González Orozco

At last it was possible to live and to achieve, for the whole community, the right to live as well. We had to teach ourselves how to live differently!

— Eulalia González Orozco

She is Nicaraguan and not yet 40 years old. Mother of eight children, she was beaten by her partner. At that time, she lived in a rural community where domestic violence was a daily feature in social interaction and coexisted among the gunshots of the military groups. But not anymore. For a few years now, people have learned to understand each other. It was Eulalia González Orozco who helped them, when, after a period of training, she became a Rural Judicial Facilitator in her community.

“I told myself: sexual violence and the mistreatment of women are going to end. The crimes and the abuses are going to stop. I am going to capacitate myself, whatever it takes, so I can help my community to be different.” Eulalia González Orozco is a peasant who lives in Caño Negro, in the municipality of Rancho Grande, in the province of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Caño Negro is the community that she wanted to change. But for what reason? “It was the 1990s, after the war. There were still many armed military groups killing people. Many conflicts over land tenancy were generated. Families lived with feelings of resentment, with the desire for revenge. Violence was everywhere. I was enraged. Where could we get help when there were neither courts nor police?” She tried to fight for the things that did not exist. The people admired her and chose her as a voluntary Rural Judicial Worker. She accepted the challenge. She began her studies in 1999. Through OAS, the Organization of the American States, she started to study in order to collaborate in the administration of justice in her community area. The most important thing she learned was that a different kind of life was possible, “with respect between all people.” She taught that to the people. She practiced it daily, even with a man who, out of spite, burnt her house. She could have moved from her house; she could have given up her new task; but she did not. She went on with her mission. Five years later, Caño Negro was a different place: “No one from our community is imprisoned, there are no conflicts over land tenancy, women are not beaten and many of the shops that sell alcohol are being closed down. Oh! And, as humble as the old one, with the support of contributions, we have built a new house.”

Organization of the American States (OAS)