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Photo by Benjamin Swift, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Mama y su espíritu

Mom prays for us. She says “protect my daughters”. Let them be healthy. Keep them from illness. You are the only doctor who can provide them health. “Protect my daughters”.

Every member of church greets us with a handshake, smile, and “Welcome” or “¿Cómo estás?”. Some of the abuelitas greet us with firm, continuous handholds and hugs. I wonder if they pray for us too.

Yesterday we went to the market. We’ve invited our late Dad’s side of the family over for barbecue. Each hand carries fruit, meat, vegetables, and toiletries. Yesterday we went to the gym, hands weighed with generosity.

Last night Mom asks us what we thought of the party. She asks us if we liked the food. She brings us another blanket and tells us to put on another chompa. She tells us the party ended sadly; that one of our family members is in need. After bed, I hear her praying, asking to help our family. She’s crying.

Today, our water is dry for the fourth day. Mom says it should come back in the afternoon. She said something similar two days ago. The rain is a good sign. Mom heats us some of our reserved water so we can bathe with pitchers and buckets. After, she asks if it was too cold. She has us sit next to the barbecue to keep warm.

The spirit of my family and our community is of hospitality, gratitude, and selflessness. In one night we say “Gracias” more times than I hear “Thank you” in one week.