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  • I'm from Chincha*
  • Delia Zamudio

Well, I'm from a pueblo called Chincha,1 land of wind and flames. I was born in a hacienda called Hoja Redonda, on June 20, 1943.

Like everybody else, I don't remember the first months of my life. But from what I've been told, when I was barely eight months old, my mother left my father and came to Lima with me and my older sister. Just like others from the provinces, she was looking for work and new possibilities.

My father? He was a womanizer and a liar, which is why my mother decided to end things with him. She found out that he had another woman and that she had four children of his. But they say that my mom never said anything. That one day, she made up her mind and before he came home from work, she loaded up what little she had and left with us and never looked back.

In Lima, the first thing we did was wander around Reserva Park. My mother realized the situation she was in and cried as she sat beside us. A señora came up to us and asked what happened. With all her pain, she explained to the woman our drama. The señora, after hearing this, offered her work and shelter for us in her house. She lived in Miraflores2 and came from a well-off family at that time.

They put us in a little room. There my mother brought us food, of course, after cooking and doing an endless list of chores around the house. From then on my mom barely had any time for us. She just worked and worked.

We lived in the room that was for the servants. It was in the back part of the house, facing the tranquility of the yard. Even though it was nearly hidden, it had a connection to what is now Arequipa Avenue.

I remember one day, when I was about three years old, I escaped through the door to the yard. I roamed astonished along the street, but soon the police nabbed me. My mother, scared to death, had been looking for me and in a fit of rage punished my older sister for not looking after me.

While innocent me was discovering the city, at home there was hell being raised. The señora was upset because my mother had spent so much time crying and looking for me that she hadn't cooked. And without giving it a second thought, said that she didn't want to hire anyone who had kids because they caused too many problems.

Thrown to the streets, we met another señora that lived close to the house we'd been in; Doña Esmeralda, a good person, wanted to be my godmother. We went with her. Like the previous one, she was also well-off. From that day on we stayed in her house. At that time [End Page 283] my mom, swept off her feet, had fallen in love with my little sister's father, who was in the national guard. When the incident with me happened in our previous house, she was already four or five months pregnant. Suddenly all this came in to play so that she was fired. Mama Esmeralda knew about her pregnancy and she assumed responsibility of us and she offered to be something like a godmother for the unborn girl. My mother looked for my sister's father and she made him realize that my mother was a good woman and that he shouldn't deceive her.

This was the environment I grew up in. When I was five and a half years old, there was a loud discussion at home. You could hear the shouts. That night mom told us that we were leaving. We headed to an uncle's house in La Victoria, in Matute. My mom didn't really know how to explain the problem to us. She said that Doña Esmeralda had caught my godfather having relations with another woman and that she blamed my mother for it. I don't know, but it...


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