The saddest story in Colombia of these days: a shoemaker who lives with his two wives. The oldest, Luz Dary, has nine children with him and the youngest, Esther, 6.
He has been living with Luz Dary for twenty years and Esther has been with them for the last five years. Before those five years both women didn’t know that the other one existed. The shoemaker, José Sierra, had told Esther that the woman who was living in his garage was his sister and therefore her children his nephews and nieces. And Luz Dary didn’t even know about Esther, with whom José had been already for 5 years.
When the shoemaker couldn’t afford anymore to maintain two households, he told the women the truth. And they accepted it. He told Caracol Television, which filmed the story, that he made the women be friends and ‘stepped aside’ so that it would work. He takes care that he gives them the same amount of presents at the same time.
The women accept the situation, but they are not happy with it. They are resigned to it. Esther almost cries when she tells Caracol that it hurts to damage a family in such a way. She doesn’t want it to happen to her own children. One of Luz Dary’s daughters frankly says that she thinks it is bad, because it is not normal and even more because the two wives have to live together.
These three people, the shoemaker and his two wives, are irresponsible. They are bringing up 15 children in a situation in which only one adult seems to be quite satisfied, the shoemaker, and two women only accept each other to avoid problems in the house.The three have got 15 children in a situation of poverty. What will be their future?
Of course I am most angry at the guy, who has cheated two women and has put them in this miserable situation. Who has had 15 children, but without the means to give them a decent life.
But I am also angry at the women. How can it be that two women let themselves have so many children in such poverty and, looking at the age of the children, even when they are living together and know how the situation is?
They forced themselves into a situation in which there is no way out. No job, so many children. Where are you going?
A great example for the kids, this. It would be interesting to visit them in five years, to see for example how many children Luz Dary’s daughter, who said it was a bad situation, already has. Hopefully she will learn that women in this country don’t need to be a victim, have their own responsibility and can take charge of their future, marry a person who respects them.
One last thing bothers me: why did Caracol make this story? To denounce it? I don’t think so. They presented it as mere curiosity, like the dwarf or the woman with mustache in the circus. And the audience can laugh about it, or think the guy is a fertile masculine hero. And the women poor, silly things.
Author Wies Ubags is a Dutch freelance journalist in Bogotá, works for media in her country and has her own weblog