Coffee with Mamá Güicha
On a trip to Guatemala in 2017 to photograph coffee farms, I stopped by to visit Mamá Güicha, my wife's grandmother, who lives in Guatemala City. She had raised my wife since she was young, and is undoubtedly the matriarch of the family. Although it had been a few years since I had seen her in Guatemala, it was very strange that she didn't recognize who I was at first. This could be due to the fact that I surprised her without telling her that I was coming, but it also gave me the impression that her blindness in one eye, and the fact that I showed up out of the blue, coupled with her aging, had caused this strange interaction between such close family members. I was definitely struck by how much older she looked since the last time I had seen her. She did remember me once I mentioned my wife, but I think it has to do with her aging and some forgetfulness as well.
After, we laughed and spent time together, and she told me many stories of things that we had done as a family before. I was lucky to have her make me coffee, and I decided to photograph the time with her as she prepared the coffee and some of the details of the house around us. Nostalgia hit me hard, considering that she had forgotten who I was, but at the same time, there were photos of me and my wife all over the house. In many ways, my time with Mamá Güicha reminded me to not take life for granted, because ultimately it is ephemeral and fleeting. Moreover, the sense of loneliness and abandonment that Mamá Güicha seemed to be experiencing reminded me that it was time to make a few more visits to Guatemala in order to spend more time with this amazing and strong woman who is such a pillar in the family. Since my visit, Mamá Güicha passed away during the fall of 2018. She truly will be missed. My photo essay focuses on the details of our time when we had coffee and can be considered a tribute to a wonderful grandma and woman who endured so much over the years. Her strength and strong will are definitely to be commended, and I hope that my photo essay will show some of these qualities in her.