Cloth Map of Guyana

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
This souvenir map hangs proudly in my family's kitchen.
This souvenir map hangs proudly in my family's kitchen.

A squirrel greeted my mother before my father did at JFK airport. “I thought it was a rat,” my mother recounts between laughs. Tending to her mother’s kitchen garden, caring for her younger siblings, and nourishing the ranch animals in Guyana provided my mother with nothing and everything at the same time. Yet, her father wanted her to find something greater. Through an arranged marriage to my father supplemented by limited phone calls, my mother set out to find her purpose in the United States with a map of her country, a few pieces of clothes, and just $20 in her pocket.  

Settling in a humble, one bedroom apartment in Kew Gardens, NY allowed my parents to begin dating each other after marriage as my mother frequented flea markets for antiques and Aqueduct Racetrack for horse racing with my father. Becoming a certified Home Health Aide let my mother send money to her family until her parents passed away. Hollis, NY became a permanent home.          

Today as a leading member of an organic juice company, my mother continues to find joy in nourishing others by reducing waste and promoting consumption of healthy beverages filled with kale, beets, and other superfoods. Reminiscing on the day she set foot into her new life while staring at her map, my mother decides, “Princess Diana’s ending was like, was my beginning. Because the day she passed away is the day I came here to live in the United States.” My mother had finally found something greater. Yet, she never forgets where she started.   


Place(s): Guyana, New York
Year: 1997

– Pabvitraa

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant