The first time I heard Dora speak to me on the phone, I thought of my grandma. With her thick accent, kind tone and constant breaks for laughter, it was more like I was calling her to catch up, rather than to introduce myself. When I found out she lived in Del Valle, my mind said something like, Oh, just a hop, skip and a jump away. I didn’t factor traffic. I didn’t factor heat. I didn’t factor the unpaved roads. Basically, it was slightly more of a journey than I’d imagined. So, that was my trip for the early days of this project, a massive, whopping … 30 to 50 minutes (when traffic was bad).
But then I met the woman on the other side of the call, and I learned my trip was nothing compared to hers. Hers was not only long in terms of distance and time, coming from Mexico, but also in terms of the adversity she faced. To put it plainly, I was humbled this week. She has been through so much, yet I can only think of a single moment when she wasn’t smiling during the time I spent with her. In that moment, she was smiling, but also crying in gratitude for the life she’s had. She cooked me dinner the first day I met her. She told me all about how she makes Spanish rice. I got into this business because I love people and stories. After just a couple hours with Dora, I could see she is the best kind of both things. I am so thankful to have met her and share her story with others.
While I’m talking about humbling moments, I can’t forget to mention the people I worked with this week. I had been fortunate to know many on the team by their name or work prior to this project, but upon meeting, I learned about the remarkable people behind those impressive bylines. It’s hard to imagine anyone being as smart as this group, yet also so fun and personable. My takeaway here is really a reinforcement of how great people are everywhere you look.