Friday, August 23, 2013

Documenting for archival/survival use: My mothers stories growing up in Guadalupe, Arizona

There comes a time in every scholars life when the theory must be lived or we die. This was my experience this summer as i lay in a hospital bed documenting and listening to my mothers stories of survival and tenacity growing up in Guadalupe Arizona. As a third generation American born scholar i realized i had lost this learned survival that kept past generations alive. I study them to remember and to know how to go on living as they did. I must ask myself how did they survive poverty, despair, disease,  hunger, losses of children and separations from loved ones due to deportations or migrations. What were the resiliency factors, the bounce backs? My mother grew up in Guadalupe Arizona, a small yaqui community in the heart of the east valley and harsh  deserts of Arizona. She tells the story of carrying water from the canal back home and boiling it for drinking.  My grandmother lived in a house with no air conditioning.  She would carve out a small room, plant herbals and hung cloths to darken and insulate the room. In the summers she was like an animal in a burrow. Insulated and covered in the earth, buried her limbs in mud. It appeared as if no  one was home she lay so still.  As a girl my mother would walk across town to the end of the town where there was a canal.  She gathered water in a wagon and cooled and washed her body. Tepidly she'd splash at the edges due to an earlier incident  in which she almost drowned. They'd take water home to boil for drinking. I realized after hearing this story from my hospital bed that i am not so removed from third world experiences as i thought. The doctors asking me if i d been out of the country lately.  I am only first generation removed from third world quality  of life and harsh living conditions. The stories manifest and show like old scars on my body. I carry my mothers battle scars on my own. Inheritance or lived, If the story lives in the mother it continues to resonate to her daughters.  I never carried water across the town to boil and drink but my bodies cells remember the diseases transmitted - skips one generation and lives in my gut. In the hospital when i sleep i see the snake rodents head enlarged threatening and-eats at my vital nutrients. Doctors cant figure out why my body won't retain sodium, sugars, iron, electrolites so off i could have hallucinated the light coming to me in the dark. Zaps away my force but i keep writing and when i write these stories of my mothers i imagine a new story into being. One where i float in harmony with water and it becomes purified with the suns rays on my face. I become one with the lake and all living beings, i coexist.  I float still like my grandmother bunny in her burrow, limbs cool from the mud, one with mother earth.  And so it is.


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