Building Bridges: Domenica Garcia

Directing Student, Domenica Garcia, (’18) is from Ecuador and Mexico — but even more from a rich world of extraordinary, everyday, women.


“My heritage is composed by a series of mothers, who, despite their class and conservative environment, did everything in their power to thrive. These mothers were flawed, some perhaps never recognized their own harm but certainly I wouldn’t be here without them.

My mother, Maritza, was raised in Aloag, a small town in Ecuador. She belonged to a middle class family, she wasn’t raised under the conditions of extreme poverty but certainly her resources were limited. As you may know Ecuador, and all Latin America, is a Third World country. A very high percentage of the population has no access to efficient health care, education and resources. Opportunities in countries like Ecuador are very restricted, and demand hard work. My grandmother, Mama Clemen, was born in a ranch in Ecuador. Her mother, Teodolinda, was raped several times by the ranch owner, leaving Mama Clemen with a series of siblings and an illegitimate father. Teodolinda couldn’t escape from the ranch since it was her only resource to provide for her children. Mama Clemen recounts this story with a trembling voice and with watery eyes. Her life revolved around the uncertainty of having food that day, of her body being violated and being extremely careful to not “wear out” the sole of her only pair of shoes. Mama Clemen grew up in a conservative and violent environment, an environment that was too afraid to recognize the horrors of her life. Whenever she would feel sad, ten Hail Marys would take her pain away. Years after, Mama Clemen’s father was begging Teodolinda to sign the paternity papers so Mama Clemen could receive his last name, but Teodolinda refused. Throughout her life she served the men around her and her daughter was the only thing she was not willing to give up. Mama Clemen kept her mother’s last name, Ruiz, and this was passed on to my mother….”




“…I was raised in a wealthy area of Mexico City, and was fortunate enough to have absolutely everything that I needed. My life revolved around spacious apartments, cars, domestic service and many other commodities. I had the privilege to go to a private school, to learn English as a second language. My reality was constructed under this tinny bubble and for some moments I believed that there was nothing else aside from my privileged life in the west side of Ciudad de México. Classism is what contaminates the air, the city skyline is formed of two separate worlds, 30 floor buildings and concrete unfinished houses. Unfortunately these never collide, making it easier to forget the other side exists. This segregation creates an atmosphere of corruption and materialism, were we quantify our persona with the things we can or can not buy. There is not enough money to feed all, some steal to survive and some to buy a new sports car. Corruption is deeply engraved, to such extent that we learn to out smart and distrust. Violence is normalized that it seems fine to get kidnapped in a cab, get caught up in a narco fight or killed for a cellular….”

Perhaps Mama Clemen’s world and mine is not that far apart, the same violation of rights repeats itself like a broken record. Perhaps it is in us to recognize and stop, to stand for ourselves in whatever way we can. Whenever the circumstances overcome, we can always speak up. We can tell our daughters our story, we can tell them how great they are, we can choose to pass on the strength we found. Our stories aren’t only sad, there was joy in Mama Clemen when the family meet for dinner in her house. There was freedom in my mom when she would dance her heart out. I find my own spark in my art…”


To read more Heritage Papers from Building Bridges ’17 students, click here: Danielle’s Blog & here: Isabel’s Blog