I would like to share a poem I wrote about my grandmother in honor of her life and the struggles she overcame to provide a better life for herself and her family. The decisions she made in her life not only affect her children but every generation that will come afterwards.
I feel very special to have known such a strong and loving woman and she will always have a very special place in my heart.
I hope you enjoy it.
Manuela’s Transition through Life and Time.
In her days, the colour of your skin was more important than language.
In her days, who you married was more important than love.
In her days, children were a requirement or obligation to carry on a bloodline.
In her day… woman was a tool of trade.
The families that lived here were not born here but came.
The families that came here took land and cultivated.
The families that came here sought to gain wealth through agriculture and industry.
She was a part of those families.
Her father was a plantation manager and gain stability through their union.
She became the owner’s son wife and destined to live the life of luxury.
But when her husband died many privileges vanished right before her eyes.
Her children we no longer to be her own.
Heartbroken… lost… not hope in sight.
Everyone turned their back on her… she was all alone.
A mirage was what she was to become as life continued around her.
But she would not bend… she was not a tool.
What they did not expect was her love for her children.
What they did not expect was the fight hidden within.
What they did not expect was the strength she had to move on.
She would not yield to their commands and lose those four that came from her womb.
Train… secretly running away….
Seeking the help of her family.
She sought to save her life and keep her children.
She was determined to be free.
Working in the fields was not a position for her.
Working in the factories was not a position for her.
Working in the lowest occupation was not a position for her.
She was white.
No one would accept her.
Her colour stood out and separated her from the rest.
Her language made her different.
Her struggle was hers to carry alone.
Forced to leave her children with those she thought would love them.
She could only hope they would treat them as their own.
Three were allowed to prepare for the changing world.
One, she learnt was not… how can she protect all?
Where can you go when all they see is colour?
What can you do when the pigmentation of your skin limited you?
How can you survive when you were living below your status?
She was a survivor.
She supervised in the industrial world.
She blended into the domesticated world.
She acquired assistant from people who understood her plight.
She gained… learned… and soon had all four back with her.
Manuela Carreira was not her real name.
The life she led was not what was expected of her.
She defied the colour of her skin and her station in life.
She was not a tool… she was my grandmother.
Now the trains stands still and the plantation fields are gone.
If it was not for her I might not been here, not anyone.
She fought to live her life and be free.
She fought to provide a future for them and for me.
Three generations now live because of her.
I want to be like her.
Powerful, faithful and determined ...