For the first time an indigenous woman, Rosa Montezuma, has been chosen to represent Panama in the Miss Universe competition. This is significant because she grew up in the Comarca (indigenous territory) and life there is really tough, especially for girls and women.
Check out this Wikipedia article especially the second half that talks about daily life in the Comarca. They live by subsistence farming without running water or electricity, or many other things we consider necessities. Poverty and malnutrition are very real problems. Many places aren’t accessible for parts of the year, and transportation is by foot or horse. This makes access to health care and education almost impossible for many. They speak their native languages and many of the men and even more of the women don’t speak Spanish. Rosa, however, against these great odds went to school, then high school, and then to Panama City for a university education.
Read more about her story in her own words HERE.
When you grow up in a culture, in a way of life and that’s all you have experienced it’s hard to imagine becoming something different, and even harder to actually do it. This young woman deserves a whole lot of credit, as does her family who encouraged her. She wants to be an inspiration to others, especially the women and girls, that you can rise above your circumstances and change your life.