[Rosa’s] friendships at the Center have grounded her and offered her solace and happiness in a big, foreign-feeling city.
In the years before Rosa, 85, joined the vibrant community at Mission Neighborhood Center on Capp Street, San Francisco, she was left at home alone while her daughter, with whom she was living, went to work. This carried on for some years until one day her daughter told her she was taking her somewhere. “Where are we going?!” she worried. Six years later, Rosa is one of MNC’s most well-known participants – she comes everyday.
For a decade she traveled back and forth between Ecuador and San Francisco with her husband, who has since passed. They were married for 60 years – since the “days of Kennedy,” she remembers. Her family is her daughter, but her chosen family and Latina sisters can be found next to her on any given day, accompanying her on coffee breaks, casual conversation, or other activities she joins at the Center.
What she wants for her daughter is the same as the saying she remembers from back home in Ecuador: a “full stomach and a happy heart.”
Her faith has helped prepare her for next steps she might face in this lifetime and her friendships at the Center have grounded her and offered her solace and happiness in a big, foreign-feeling city. She has also made Ecuadorian friends at the Center; she knows she isn’t alone here – she’s able to respond to life’s unpredictable ups and downs in the company of trustworthy women, friends, and now, sisters, too.
All photos courtesy of: Sahara Marina Borja