Felipa Borgen Muñoz: Mother, Field Hand and Fighter

Felipa with her daughter Heysel.

Felipa Borgen Muñoz has worked her whole life. Born in an isolated community called Kuikuina Grande, Siuna, she starting working in the fields as a little girl with her parents and five siblings in order to feed the family. The community’s school was two hours away on foot and, because of her work in the fields, she could not attend school. 

It was not until her family moved to the community of Hormiguero, Siuna, amidst security concerns during the Contra war in the 1980s that she was able to start attending school in the mornings and obtained her high school degree. Meanwhile, Felipa continued to work in the fields with her family in the afternoons. For extra income to lighten her family’s load, she also worked as a field hand for her neighbors. 

Felipa with her son Kevin.

Felipa later married, but her husband left her after her two children were born: Kevin and Heysel. As a single mother, Felipa has fought very hard to provide a better life for her children. She works at a community school and receives US$66 every three months. In her spare time, Felipa continues to work as a field hand to earn extra money. She and her children also farm for themselves. They plant yucca, corn, rice, and beans and also participate in Bridges’ family gardens project, which aims to improve diets and access to fruits and vegetables in Hormiguero. They are able to live off what they grow and even sell some to the market. 

Felipa says, “I am both mother and father to my children. In spite of the many difficulties I have encountered, I am happy and I want my children to be good people and to become professionals.” Felipa’s son, Kevin, is a Bridges Scholarship student currently in his fourth year of English at the URACCAN University. Heysell is in her third year of high school.