Early morning – New Years Day 2010, the EFF white van is packed & ready. It is time to make a delivery to Mama Espinosa in El Rosario, about an hour’s drive south of Vicente Guerrero along the Baja peninsula. For Erma, it’s a routine trip, made at least once monthly for over 20 years, but today, we are excited about the prospect of not only another delivery but a hearty breakfast at Mama’s Restaurant. Her family run motel & restaurant sits right on Highway1, where in 1973, the pavement ended. From this point on (about 1200 kms) south to Cabo San Lucas, it was only a dirt road. Mama often says, “bad roads bring good people, good roads bring all kinds of people.” Today, we are blessed by the generosity of Canadian friends – Wayne, Elsie & Robert.
Mama Espinosa is a legend in her own right & giving has always been a way of life for her. Born Dona Anita Grosso de Espinosa more than a century ago (she’s old enough to remember the Mexican Revolution when rebels invaded the town & she & other family members escaped by ox cart. Twenty two days later, they arrived in Calexico, on the U.S. side of the border, where they lived for some years until it was safe to return home.
She came to the El Rosario oasis with her family by a six burro train in 1896 & has lived here ever since. She married & raised her own family of 10 children & 4 orphans & continues to help the poor, the sick & the “old” people in the area. She is a born leader & community organizer & has been recognized by both community & state for her many humanitarian efforts. She has an excellent command of both the English & Spanish languages & is often used as a translator. Even in her advanced years, she still helps the poor by organizing the distribution of food, clothing & other essentials. “I’m not going to take my shoes with me when I go,” she laughs, with a twinkle in her old eyes. And so, we arrive at Mama’s home where we find her sitting in her favourite chair by her front window. We greet her, we sit & talk a while & then Robert asks her if she would mind telling him her life story (it’s his first visit to see her). Her century old eyes light up immediately, & her still rich & resonant voice begins her tale as Robert’s camera follows her every move. We leave Robert & Erma here for half an hour or more & start unloading the van. Her storage room is almost empty – only 4 one litre jugs of beans are seen on the shelves. Within minutes, the shelves are full of six 100 lb. sacks of rice & beans, maseca (tortilla flour), sugar, hand soap, toys & other essentials. Then, we stop a moment to catch our breaths & move on into the restaurant – breakfast is being served and we are hungry!