Lucía Willis Paau – Guatemala (1959 – x)

Lucía Willis Paau was battling against cancer, she has passed away. Sorry, I found no where indicated any date.

She was one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She was a Guatemalan woman, the worthy heiress of two great ancestral cultures: the Maya Q’eqchi (direct descendents of the Mayans) and the Garífuna (descendents of former African slaves). During her life, Lucía Willis Paau (46) had played many roles: nurse’s aide, researcher, social worker, mother, and defender of human rights. From her mother, she learned to fight. She had faced poverty, discrimination and marginalization, but she never forgot her origins. Lucía had an unbreakable fighting spirit. She weaved her life with threads of work and hope.

She said: “My life is hope”.

She said also: “If one wants to overcome adversity, one must make sacrifices”.

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Lucía Willis Paau – Guatemala (1959 – x)

She worked for Foundation of the Mayan Woman of the North (Funmmayan).

Forged through constant effort, persistence and sharing an interest in women’s causes, Lucia Willis Paau was a blend of two ancestral cultures: the Maya-q’eqchí’ (direct descendents of the Mayans) and the Garífuna (descendents of former African slaves that lived on the island of San Vicente in the Lower Antilles, during the 17th and 18th centuries; afterwards, they populated the Atlantic coast of Central America).

She went through many difficulties during her childhood. Her father, Stanley Willis, died when she was very young; her mother, Josefa Paau, had a great influence on Lucia’s development. From her mother, Lucia learned the responsibilities of managing a household, how to care for the animals and the crops, how to gather firewood, carry water, make tortillas, wash clothes, and cook. She also learned how to weave the cloth that she sold in the market.

The Mayan-q’eqchí’ culture was prevalent in her development. Her grandmother and her mother passed on the values that are reflected in all aspects of her life – organizational, philosophical, spiritual, and social; the respect for sacred places, for older people, for women and for harmony with nature and the universe. “She told me that when a woman could not make tortillas, she had to make tortillas at night, in front of grandmother moon and ask for help to make round tortillas. From the stars, one can ask them to guide us to find our gifts: our talents and our destiny.”

She attended public school where they did not speak q’eqchí’ and failed the first two years of primary school. “My mother insisted that her children had to learn to read and to write. She could not help me and I did not had anyone to counsel me.”

Lucia was discriminated against because of her manner of speaking and dressing. When she finished the sixth grade, she and her brother started working and continued to study at night. She worked as a kitchen assistant and learned to type.

A priest forced her to choose between working and studying. She chose the second one. She graduated as a Social Worker from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala.

From 1980 to 1997, she worked as a nurses’ aide in the Ministry of Health. She remembered a time when she went to a village to vaccinate the children and found a community desolated by fire, still smoldering. “Everything was burnt. There was only silence. Only faraway, in the mountains, could we hear the sounds of survivors. I heard weeping over the corpses. I gave medical aid to the survivors.” When this story was told, it was a testimony of one of the many massacres committed during the civil war (1960-1996).

In 1997, with a group of women, Lucia created the Foundation of Mayan Woman of the North – FUNMMAYAN (Fundación de la Mujer Maya del Norte).

She was the coordinator of the Defense of the Mayan Woman of the North (Defensoría de la Mujer Maya de la Región Norte) and the cofounder of the Coordination of the Indigenous Woman of Guatemala (Coordinadora de Mujeres Indígenas de Guatemala).

She was also the coordinator of the Forum of Women of Alta Verapaz (Foro de Mujeres de Alta Verapaz) in 1999, and she wrote the “Graduate in Political Formation for Women in the Northern Region” (Diplomado en Formación Política para Mujeres en la Región Norte) in 2001.

After she was the legal representative of FUNMMAYAN. She had received recognition for her outstanding community work.

She directed her efforts toward the identification of leaders in the communities, so that they learn to read and write. Advocate and defender of human rights of indigenous women, she was a committed social worker. She had campaigned as a political candidate and worked to promote the Peace Agreements, as well as to form a generic integrated education sytem.

Lucia was a woman of faith: strict, strong, tenacious, and reflective. At the end she was battling against cancer. But she never had given up her dream, her fight and her contributions to the solidarity of a peaceful place.

There are three children.

She worked tirelessly for freedom, equality, dignity, justice and for the common good. An example of tenacity for many women, Lucia was the woman of the coconut and the milpa (a small piece of land for growing beans and corn for home consumption).

She weaved the wealth of her rich dual cultural origins into every day of her life and presented it as a way to help create peace.
(1000peacewomen).

Un mundo de paz debe ser un lugar sin violencia y sin injusticia social, económica y política, donde las mujeres tengan las mismas oportunidades que los hombres, según Lucía Willis Paau, una de las seis guatemaltecas postuladas al Premio Nobel de la Paz 2005. (CERIGUA).

She wrote the book: Lucía Willis Paau: “Q’eqchi’ Reflexiones desde mi experiencia de Mujer“. (Mayan Literature).

links:

Candidatos inscritos para la elección a: Diputados Por Planilla Distrital;

La Fundación de la Mujer Maya del Norte – FUNMAYAN- entregó reconocimiento al Ministro de Salud Pública;

On Feminisms and Postcolonialisms: Reflections South of the Rio Grande;

El Informador Rural;

Bitácora;

EL PREMIO NOBEL DE LA PAZ.

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