the first time i went to la chigola, i got really sick. growing up, mami would tell me the story of la curandera that saved my life when I was a baby. how she used las hierbas del terreno to cure me.

i don’t remember much about my childhood summers there, but when i stepped foot on my grandmother’s land this past may, every lonely part of me felt at home & welcomed. coming back felt like a distant memory of a dream i once had. returning to la chigola as an adult, i felt an instant connection to the land that had raised all the women before me. all the women that ran through my veins.

this land is a part of me. a part of me that i used to feel very alone in experiencing. made up of a sorrowful longing, a loneliness of the spirit; a home that i was born into but ripped apart from, left to watch the wound bleed. a part of me that i thought had died a long time ago.

the idea of ‘home’ can be triggering for many poc, who are far from their native lands, left to survive & feed off of foreign soil. so i very much acknowledge my privilege of being able to return to my mother’s homeland & reconnect with lost parts of myself.  

and although to some ‘home’ may seem like worlds away, those parts of yourself that you thought were gone, never truly die-no matter how oppressed, battered or neglected; the land is always awaiting your return. and although that feeling of loneliness that feeds on your soul can sometimes feel like it’ll eat you alive, know that the land always has the power to heal you.

para el barrio de la soledad-mi soledad siempre e pertenecido a ti.

Photos are shot by Jessica Rodriguez on 35mm film

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