Las Abuelas Cuentan



It is hard to believe that I’m almost at the end of my year residency with RILA. I often hear that time flies, but this year I have truly felt it!

From its inception, this project has been rooted in storytelling. Every exchange has given me a deep understanding of how the many journeys of people in our community often intersect. From hosting monthly meeting with Café Recuerdos to writing poems at Roger William’s Gateway Center or interviewing grandparents in our community. These exchanges have taught me about the will of our human spirit to overcome obstacles, and how faith has played a crucial role in sustaining our community.

I was particularly touched by the story of Socorro Cano, a Colombian grandmother who came to the United States at the height of the textile industry in Rhode Island. She shared about the history of the first Colombian immigrants in Central Falls, how they helped each other as they built a new home away from everything they’ve ever known. Her story reminded me of my own family and how hard it was for my mom to leave her children behind to start a new life in a different country.

Engaging with our elders has been a joyous, listening experience. Hearing first-hand accounts of the political climate and historical context of their younger years is a true gift. I’m so glad we have been able to provide space for them to talk about what they consider essential in the present. Our conversations inspired other gatherings, where we wrote letters and poems to our younger selves. We reminisce about what we learned from our mothers as we looked at pictures of the women of our families. We made flag banners about selfcare and rituals of renewal both old and new.

As we are getting reading to enter the last part of my residency, I’m excited to wrap up our last group of interviews with our elders. My heart is full with new memories and the sounds of the guitar of past Café Recuerdos.

I hope you join us in enjoying a few cafecitos before the end of the year. Come experience all the magic that happens when we open space for the creative process to unfold.
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Stay tune for more! Save the date for RILA’s Día de los Muertos annual celebration on November 2nd at the North Burial Ground in Providence. Go here more more

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