Todavía Estoy Aquí

I am Still Here


I didn’t know when I would see her again.

Around four years ago, my mother had to return to her home country of Argentina because she was very sick. I stayed in the United States for university and saw her very little.

In the summer of 2013, I traveled to be with her through a difficult healing process. A couple months before, she had moved from a city and decided to join a spiritual community in the north of Argentina. I knew very little about it before arriving. And for most of summer, I lived with her in this ashram that she needed to be in and became close to a community she is still a part of. I wanted to be near to her, to understand what she was going through, and to support her.

These are my photographs of an experience, of a connection, of a constructed home, of a mother that I almost lost, of a community that I will never forget, and of a presence I feel constantly.

I arrived and nothing seemed more distant to me than
the thought of God.

The dirt was unfamiliar and the people mere followers.

I had many hours alone and the seemingly never-ending Argentinean desert only stressed the solitude more.

And it never did snow.

The winter felt warmer than a San Francisco summer.

And every morning we woke up and continued
our devotional work.

To clean the subconscious was to clean the bathroom.
I always chose the bathroom.

Sometimes you could hear the faint sounds of
mantras chanted in the kitchen and out on the fields.

The days grew longer as the weeks went on.

Everyday the Ashram acted as a mirror.

And even though I tried many times to place that mirror aside,

it only continued to come closer.

So one day, as I climbed a tall tree with my bare hands,

all I could feel was the fear between my tattered shoes

and the dry, dirt ground of the desert.

Not too far in the distance, I could see the Andes Mountains.

They stood tall.

And, he mumbled in his soft Spanish that I had nothing to fear

for I was now protected.

So I tried to grasp onto the soil because that was all 

I could do.

But it kept slipping through my hands because

I forgot how to hold on.

And I have still forgotten.

And it frightens me.

Using Format