The Mano Vuelta Campaign is a unique community response to the coronavirus crisis to collect and distribute food to people who have lost their livelihoods during this time. It is also targeted at fostering a regeneration of ancestral sources of subsistence amongst elders and their families who need help in finding food, while rethinking their production alternatives.
This is the story of one participant in the campaign, Doña Cipriana, a fisherwoman in Manzanillo, who is 70 years old.
Although there is a myth in the Caribbean that women don’t fish, she raised her family of six children fishing and making bread.
She eventually had to sell her boat “Las Primas,” because she no longer had kids in the house to join her out fishing.
When Doña Cipriana received her food bag on the 5th of April, she explained that “now that I don’t have to spend my little savings on buying food, I’m going to use the money to go back to selling bread from home. If you can help me, I just need a second shelf for the oven and a small amount of money to buy the starter.” She then showed us her oven and called her carpenter son so that he could measure the size of the shelf. And so the ancestral coconut bread, the African Journey Cake and other breads will once again be sold as a part of the local economy in Manzanillo.
Note from the author: One day when I was fishing out at sea this past month, I suddenly remembered I had a World Pulse zoom meeting. So I pulled out my cell phone from the waterproof bag and connected, bringing the voices of all 25 women in the virtual meeting into the boat, to join our fishermen's voices to talk about the value of technologies in the hands of women and peoples.
"Those women Maria is talking to are my "coterráneas," said Roy Brown, an Afro Costa Rica elder to his grand son Katan.
"What do you mean, grandpa?" asked 20-year-old Katan Brown.
"Well, Maria is talking to a bunch of mostly African women and that is where we came from, son."
And that day, the airwaves, the ocean waves and the ways of the sea, brought together centuries of other travels between Africa and the Américas.
To learn more about the Mano Vuelta Campaign, read Part I: Mano Vuelta in Costa Rica During the Coronavirus Emergency; & Part 2: What is Mano Vuelta?