100 years ago, my grandfather Rafael Nacianceno Maya-Valencia moved to Lomitas from Caramanta, Antioquia to raise his first family there. My grandfather found the warmth and comfort in the people and its surroundings. As a jack of all trades, he provided medical, engineering & literary assistance to the Lomitas community.
After being a widow for 7 years with two grown children, he found love again and married my grandmother Maria Delina Avila aka Maruja in 1948. My great-grandparents settled shortly afterwards and all their other children and grandchildren of theirs would visit and spend their summers in Lomitas.
In the late 1950's our families' romance of Lomitas ensued by bridging the Maya's & the Avila's. Lomitas became the sanctuary where all would gather to mend broken hearts or escape the routine of everyday life. The house once named, Ramaval is the setting of many childhood memories filled with laughter and love. Between 1950-1980 over 25 children...siblings, cousins, orphans and friends created memories in this household.
My grandfather's passion for the land grew even further with the support of my grandmother aka Ita. My Ita began assisting him with alternative medicine recipes and helping the community. She opened their home to those who needed work, a meal or a shoulder to cry on. Maruja as she was known to the people and her family, was recognized for her compassion, humility, strength & healing remedies.
Her sister, Maria Elda Avila was a nurse who saw a need to help this community as well and they became a healing duo merging traditional & natural remedies. They were self taught doulas who also treated those with colds, kidney disease, high blood pressure or even a broken heart. Ma. Elda helped establish the Community Wellness Center (Puesto de Salud) there which she managed with the help of her sister.
By the late 1970s most of those children had grown up and Lomitas became the country retreat gatherings and relaxation. The family started growing apart with some moving to the big cities, starting their own families or moving to the US. With my grandfather's passing in 1979, the dynamic of the household began to change.
My Ita decided to move to NYC in 1980, with her eldest daughter, Bertha Maya. She left behind her youngest, Claudia Maya, her son, Octavio Maya and her step-daughter, Lilia Maya-Hoyos to tend to the abode which had honored so many stories and paths.
I remember growing up hearing the epic stories of Lomitas. I remember sitting at my Ita's feet as she would cry longing for her family and community. The fervor for this land and what it represents has been within me for as long as I can remember. At age 8, I was able to witness for myself how much the community of Lomitas loved and admired her. My Ita would send money, provide clothes, medicine, vitamins, toys, school supplies and used prescription glasses to the people of Lomitas who until today have limited resources.
I feel that it is my responsibility, our responsibility as a family to not forget the birthplace & the community of where so many treasured moments and our roots were cultivated and in essence remain. We ask that the stories continue for future generations and that this community with lack of resources isn't forgotten in time either.
CONTINUE THE LEGACY of CONTRIBUTION.
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Viviendo el legado de Maruja Maya