As many of you know, yesterday was International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the wonderful women in our lives and acknowledge all the work women put in every day without fail.

I spent most of yesterday thinking about my host mothers in Nicaragua.

They are two of the hardest working women I’ve ever met, one a teacher and the other a preacher. One thoughtfully quiet and one joyfully loud, but both supportive people who put the care of others first.

My time during SST was filled with ups and downs, but what helped me through each and every day was the love and support of my host mothers.

When you only know someone for six weeks, it’s hard to know exactly how to support them. But those two women did it every day.

Whether it was cooking me a warm meal, simply sitting with me as I ate a late dinner after a long day at work at the school in el campo or surprising me by renting one of my favorite movies and watching it with me when I was sick.

Those two women built me up and helped me through a formative experience that has stayed with me ever since.

Their understanding of what it takes to be a woman, the burdens we carry, the pain we hide (especially in a country rife with machismo culture) shone through in their actions.

Although I can’t be with those women today, I know that supporting the women around me in any way I can will be honoring the work my host mothers do every day.

I often think that one of the best ways for people to support one another is through the sharing of personal stories and experiences, both spoken and written.

Rupi Kaur, a Canadian, feminist poet, is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever encountered. Her collection of poems entitled “Milk and Honey” took my sappy heart and warmed it, broke it and then built it back up again.

One of the poems said the following:

“What terrifies me most is how we

Foam at the mouth with envy

When others succeed in relief

When they are failing

Our struggle to

Celebrate each other is

What’s proven most difficult

In being human”

She is exactly right. We need to continue to celebrate and support each other, not just one day a year, but every minute.

Instead of comparing yourself to the person next to you, find ways to build her up and push her to be the best she can be.

“From now on I will say things like you are resilient or you are extraordinary not because I don’t think you’re pretty but because you are so much more than that.” -Rupi Kaur