Corominas then visiting the Mirabal Sister Museo!
Trip Start Jan 29, 2011
31Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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We took the guagua by ourselves and were let off at the correct place. We were a block away from Cabral, so we walked the rest of the way. On the way, we passed through a park with this guy who was sitting on a covered step with a leg that looked like it had been burned and now had an infection. It was so sad because I thought to myself, "Can this man even be seen at Cabral, or is he on the waiting list to be seen?"
We got to Cabral and waited about 15 minutes before Eduardo picked us up. We drove to the same parking lot and then went upstairs. His dad was in the closing process of an anterior repair and said that there wasn't much to watch. He was so kind and told us that we were welcome at any time in his clinic and that we shoud consider this place home no matter what
We waited about 30 minutes for the next procedure - a C-Section by his uncle, Enrique. We sat and chatted about Eduardo's favorite restaurants in Santo Domingo, as we will be going there this weekend. We also told him we would be happy to host him if he were ever to come to the States again.
We watched the C-Section (the baby born during this section had almost ZERO baby cheese) and then went down to the general surgery floor to watch a breast reduction. It was pretty amazing how the surgeon knew where to cut and how to piece everything back together so it looked good. The most shocking thing was that the patient had only spinal anesthesia (common here for any surgery) and was awake and moving her eyes, arms and head as her breasts were being worked ion. She had needed the surgery because of pain caused by the size of her breasts prior to surgery. The doc took about a pound off of each one. It was pretty scary for a bit because I couldn't imagine being cut open like that woman was.
At noon, we left and caught a guagua home
As soon as we got back, we walked home in the rain and just as we got back, it was time for lunch of plain white rice with a chick pea and casava-like root in a sauce that I put over my rice, and a beef concoction as well as this egg and potato salad similar to the kind we had had in the campo.
After lunch, we all took an hour nap and then got on the ILAC bus headed towards Salcedo and the Mirabal Museum! Here is a link to learn more about the Mirabal Sisters! Check out the movie summary of In The Time of the Butterflies. Great movie to get a good feeling of their story too!
Here is an excerpt about the Sisters:
Patria Mercedes Mirabal (February 27, 1924 – November 25, 1960), Bélgica Adela "Dedé" Mirabal-Reyes (March 1, 1925 – present), María Argentina Minerva Mirabal (March 12, 1926 – November 25, 1960) and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal (October 15, 1935 – November 25, 1960) were citizens of the Dominican Republic who fervently opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo
As of 2010, Dedé lives in Salcedo, Dominican Republic in the house where the sisters were born. She works to preserve her sisters' memory through the Museo Hermanas Mirabal which is also located in Salcedo and was home to the women for the final ten months of their lives. She published a book Vivas en El Jardín, released on August 25, 2009
I was planning on going next week, but I am so glad we went today! It was so awesome because the fourth and only remaining sister, Dede! She is 86 years old and we had no idea she would be there!
While we were driving up to Salcedo, it started raining. It was still raining by the time we got to Salcedo. When we arrived into the town of Salcedo, Leah told us to look out because there were Butterflies everywhere! She wasn't kidding! There was a mural of the three sisters on the water tower. There was a huge amphitheatre with a butterfly dome over the stage area. There were murals everywhere you looked! The landscape had lots of hills and it was very beautiful!
We arrived at the museum, the house of the Sistes during the last 10 months of their lives.
We payed 20 RD to get a personal tour of the house and the grounds. We waited about ten minutes for the tour to begin as the guide was waiting for the rain to let up. Eventually, she brought us out umbrellas and we got started. Unfortunately, they did not allow pictures and I respected this. I did get pictures of the grounds though. The house had been built in 1954 and it was pretty extravagant then and it is to this day compared to the surrounding areas. The Mirabal family had a pretty well to do life because the family owned many farms and cacao plants and a gas station.
The first room we went into was the more casual dining area. There was a table with the places all set. The was also a porcelain tea set owned by the youngest Maria Teresa. The glass goblets were owned by the Mirabal Matriarch, Merecedes.
Then, we went to the more formal dining area. This was a darker room with the walls lined with both pencil drawings and oil paintings. The former were done by Patria and the latter by Minerva. Below her paintings were her collection of books and her graduate thesis. It was pretty surreal to see all of these.
Then, we passed by this cabinet of pieces of art Minerva had done while in jail. There was a picture of her daughter next to a bust she had made of her daughter as well. Below this there was a smaller bust and a pair of hands
Behind this cabinet was the sala or waiting room. there were lots of rocking chairs, a picture of Enrique, the Patriarch, and one of Jesus above his. There was a record player as well.
Then, we were shown this display case that was the most haunting part of the museum. This case held the personal belongings that each sister was carrying the day of their murders, Nov 25, 1960. the three sisters had just visited their spouses in jail and, along with their driver, they were assisinated while driving back to Salcedo. The men who killed them tried to clean up the bodies and their car was driven off of a cliff to make it look like an accident.
To the right of the case was Maria Teresa's purse. It was a brown and black tall bucket-type purse. There were numerous note cards that had been written on and the prayer book from her Father's funeral (after being released from jail, he is unable to forget the tortures he faced and died soon after)
Next, we were shown the three rooms of the house. To the left was the first room. The first was the room that Patria shared with her mother. They each had a bed in this room. Patria's favorite dress - a 1950's style dress in coral with white stitched designs on the skirt was in a glass case on a manequin. Her prayer shawl and her rosary was sitting on the bed. The rosary had been placed in a P shape. Her mother's bed was plain and had her black purse sitting on it. There was a sweign machine and a closet full of Patria's and Mercede's clothes along with the clothes of Patria's children.
Across the hall was the room of Maria Teresa (aka Mate for short). Her room also had a closet filled with clothes. The dress displayed in her room was the dress she had worn for her engagement party
The room next to Mate's belonged to Minerva. Her closet door had the green and black flag of the 14th of June Movement and below it was her Movement hat of the same colors. Next to this hat was her typewriter. Above that was her husband's law office sign. On her bed was her husband's law degree. Next to the bed was her blue and red dress with a silver belt. She had worn in three weeks prior to her death when she took her last photo. A copy of the photo is above the dress. She also had a sewing machine in her room. She was in the process of making shirts for herself and two friends to wear on the day Trujillo was assisinated. She had only finished cutting the pieces out (I assumed the Dominican Rep. red, white and blue pieces were to be made into shirts) at the time of her death.
Across the hall was the bathroom that been shipped directly from the bathroom store "El Gallo" in 1954
We then went outdoors to the adjacent kitchen, used when there were large guests and to prepare the help's food. There was a huge mortar and pestal and the floor was of the original pink and beige tile.
After, we went back into the main house, into the room that used to be where the help slept. Here was a number of memorabilia that have been made in rememberance of the sisters. The personal belongings of their driver on the day they were murdered was there too. He was also killed that day. His hat and screwdriver and pack of cigarettes were displayed. Again, it was eerie.
Last stop in the house was to the indoor kitchen. There was a pink General Electric fridge. There was a chimnea (looked like a smoke hood Ikea sells these days) and a water heater as well as a "carbon stove". The green table had been set and there were plates layed out as well. Above the sink was a dish rack with white and green-lined plates displayed.
We were then taken to the site just in front of the house where the sister's remains lay
As we were walking back, Leah called out to tell us that Dede was there at the house!
So, today we met and talked with Dede herself! It was unbelievable and incredible that the only living sister was there and we were talking with her. She was sitting in her rocking chair, and everything she said was so animated! She told us that Minerva was always outspoken. She said that her mom always sais that the words that came out of Minerva's mouth were like bad breath and they would be spread to anyone and everyone. It was so funny how she recollected this. She also said that indeed her sisters were martyrs, but that their mom had to live 20 years after their deaths with that memory. Dede herself refused to let the government take over the families land and businesses, so she ran the businesses herself for many years in order to not let the government buy the family out.
She told us that at the end of his reign of terror, Trujillo had said he had two problems: the Mirabal sisters and the Catholic church (who had been after him for the murders attributed to him). That was when he moved the husbands to the same jail and planned the road block where they would be killed.
She said that her son, who is Minister of the Environment here in the DR, planted over 2 million trees last year, adn that she is, as he says, always talking anf talking
We all took a picture with Dede (this little girl who was standing waiting with her Mom took the picture, so it's a little crooked) and then thanked her for spending time to talk with us. When I was thanking her, she asked if I was Domincan because my hair was black and it was frizzy. I told her that I am Filipino and that my hair is like my Mom's. She was just so personable.
I picked up my umbrella, headed back to ILAC. On the way I took a bunch of pictures of the butterflies and the murals in Salcedo.
we came back, I packed for this weekend, ate dinner of fried chicken and mashed potatoes with salad, then I journaled. Examen with Fr. Bill and then bed!