Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The life of a typical 18 year old girl in Siares, San Ramon

Written by Jessica Adsett of Alpha 8
The most apparent difference between the life of an 18 year old girl in Siares, San Ramon and the life a typical western 18 year old is that in Siares she will be settling down and will be either married or engaged. Family and community are very important aspects of village life and from a young age the girls in Siares are taught this. From as young as seven the girls here are seen helping around the house and by 13, if not younger, are in charge of household chores such as cooking and cleaning. The houses are very basic, made mainly of mud, corrugated iron and wood. They usually consist of two rooms and a kitchen. One room is a living room type area containing basic chairs, pictures of the family and occasionally a television with poor signal. The other room is the family bedroom. On average five family members share a house but in the one where we are staying there are nine. The kitchen is an open fire with perhaps a place to put a basin to wash or to prepare food. There is minimal electricity and even though there are lights, these are only used for a short period of time in the evening. 

Entertainment for a typical teenager here is the daily soap opera “Maid in Manhattan”. This is on daily from Monday to Friday and shows a life far from the reality they have here. The toilet and washing area are outside, with the washing area consisting of a bucket of water and a bowl. The toilet is a cement block with a hole in the ground which we have all had to acclimatise to!
Typical house in Siares, San Ramon
For an 18 year old girl here education is not regarded as important and it is rare if not unheard of for females to be in higher education. It is seen as much more important to be at home. Men however are either in education such as college or university or are working in agriculture,  particularly on coffee plantations. They earn a minimal wage and the work is hard. We visited one of the local plantations and witnessed the hard work they put in to support their families. Recently however there has been a disease that has spread through the crops of coffee and this has meant a drop in the amount produced and consequently a decrease in earnings. Despite this the families have been incredibly friendly and generous, welcoming us into their families and making room for us in their small homes.

Coffee beans
We are staying with six different families who all have young children within them. They are all so grateful to Raleigh for building the preschool which will be so beneficial not only to the community as a whole but particularly to the young women of Siares. The preschool will give the children a safe and less crowded place to receive an education. It will also allow the young women more freedom and time to provide for their families and even gain an education for themselves. As we can see how it will benefit so many people it makes all our hard work worthwhile. Seeing how the families live and how they take such good care of their homes and families even though their means are so basic makes us all grateful for our own home comforts. It definitely has made us realise how lucky we all are and how much we take things for granted.


  1. Jess Adsett A8
    Lovely words from the heart, we're very proud of you. What an amazing experience, enjoy all it throws at you. Life at home is good and beware Dad has been thinking of bean jokes! Love you so much, Mum xxxxx

  2. message to Merle Boontje!
    Ha Merle, leuk verhaal om te lezen! Is het inderdaad zo basic als beschreven is? Indrukwekkend.We hopen heel erg dat je je draai begint te vinden daar. Je hebt vast veel aan je Spaanse taalkennis.Veel liefs papa

  3. Message for Merl Boontje
    Ha meis, leuk om iets van jouw groep te lezen. Jammer dat er geen foto's bij geplaatst zijn. Ben erg benieuwd hoe het met je gaat! We missen je wel hoor! Hier hebben wij net de Carnaval achter de rug. De foto's houd je tegoed :).
    Was gezellig in Maastricht. Nu bij Peter en Viola en morgen weer verder. Een aangenaam vakantieweekje.
    Veel groeten van Monique en Gerhard en een dikke knuffel van je mamsie. XXX

  4. Wwll done! It is lovely to hear about what you are doing and the community you are staying with. Remember to smile and share your love of life with them.
    Love N& G

  5. Jess Adsett A8
    Hi Jess I've bean away and it was chilli! Mum's bean running and Joe had butter clean his room soon as it's bean a mess. Your SIM card has arrived at last and I've bean impressed with your blog. Happy Valentines Day - from the old bean :)

  6. For Flavia Bruce-Smith Alpha 2
    Happy Valentine's Day.
    We love you very, very much,
    Mama, Papa and da gurls xxxx

  7. Message for Mary McSporran.
    Great to hear about where you are and what it is like. So different to home and such a culture shock and the experience and expectations of girls within their community so different to yours. Look forward to hearing how the building work and project is progressing. Rugby last weekend was again good. Scotland scored 4 ties, all by backs, beating Italy, who beat France on first weekend. England only unbeaten side after 2 games. Nothing from University of Cumbria yet - still "under consideration", but did say they had until 28th Feb.
    Love Mum and Dad. x x x

  8. I'm not sure if this is the right place (Harini's boyfriend Rob did not give me very detailed instructions) but please wish Harini a Happy Birthday from Henry! Pura Vida

  9. Hi Jess, Its lovely to read your blog & learn about what your up to while your away. I may suggest getting the kids doing household chores this weekend………lol!! It sounds like your having an amazing time, keep safe. Love & hugs, Amanda & John, your lovely uncle who after a few beers fell asleep on the train today & left me waiting for him at the station!!!!!!!Such Fun!!!!LOL (he just may kill me for adding that bit in ha ha) xxxx

  10. Hi Jess
    A great blog. It is good to know that you are OK and enjoying your adventure. We are very proud of you, lots of love Jos, Martin and Poppy xxx

  11. For Alex Buehrich Alpha 2 13 A Costa Rica
    Schatz, wie wundervoll, Dich so fröhlich zu sehen!
    Ich freue mich so für Dich! HDGDLK Mami

  12. Jessica Adsett, Alpha 8

    Hey Jessie, sorry I haven't posted anything on hear I have been having some trouble with letting it post.
    I liked your post about the girl living in Costa Rica and by the look of the other groups you're going to have some amazing time in amazing places.

    I am planning to send you some post soon, also looking forward to a phone call from you soon!

    As for me I have been skiing in les Conatimnes for a few days and had the best afternoons skiing of my current life. I have Icebreaker tomorrow and not really physically or mentally ready!

    Miss and love you,

  13. Ottie Westerink, Alpha 6,

    Hee otje, hier liex en nouk vanuit Sankt Anton. Het is hier heel chill en heerlijk weer. We zijn benieuwd hoe je het hebt en of je al lekker stinkt....

    We vinden het heel cool dat je dit doet en we missen je! We hopen dat we snel foto's van je te zien krijgen. Groetjes van hier.

    Dikke kus allie en nanoes

  14. Hi Jess Adsett,
    Hope you are still enjoying yourself. We are getting ready to take Joe to his race this weekend in the Forest of Dean. We are going to use our new camper. Snow is forecast so as you sizzle we will shiver!. Mum is ready for her adventure in the Gambia . Dad, Matt and mum survive the race at weekend. Mum and Matt needed acupunture from Braz's dad. All well here. Enjoy yourself. Love N & G xx

  15. Message for Loulou Robinson
    Hey there Loulou thought I would write you a little message which will hopefully be waiting for you when you get to changeover! Guessing you must be pretty shattered but in a good way! And looking forward to a shower and just a tiny bit of relaxation!!
    Can't wait to hopefully have a chat with you via Skype when you can grab a minute, really looking forward to hearing all your news and where and what your off to do next! Take care sweet pea. Thinking of you loads and miss you big time... I am currently sat on stu's boat in Lymington Doing a little work on the old girl! Take care you and speak soon! Yay! Xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxx

  16. Maxime van Gelderen25 February 2013 at 21:00

    Voor Robin van Gelderen, Alpha 8. Lieve schat! Ik hoop dat je de lange bus reis hebt overleefd ;). Ik zit op het kantoor lekker veel aan het werk nu en fabrieken bezoeken, tijd vliegt voorbij het buitenland. Voor je het weet ben je weer thuis dus geniet er nog maar even van! Ik hoop dat je het heel leuk hebt bij die familie waar je zal verblijven.Ik zag leuke dansfoto's voorbij komen,deze zomervakantie gaan we lekker veel feesten samen en de clubs onveilig maken als de G sisters dat doen ;) ipv (de K'sisters) hihi! Hou van je en kijk uit, dikke kus X Max



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