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Mariah Moneda

I would like to honor my grandparents.

To leave the place you call home and to lay your foundation somewhere you’ve never known is a testament to diligence and sacrifice. Dito Na, directly translating to “This Here”, is a photographic journal documenting the meticulous labor that is necessary to make a new life in a new land. “Immigrants do not experience complete catch-up in a single generation, either in past or the present,” I am left in meditation. For your children and for your children’s children, how do you provide something that can be passed down forever? So, I’ve watched them as they age and continue to work and work and work, tilling the earth that they stand on so that their lineage will not have to the same way they did.

As a result, I wonder what I will do when they are gone, and I am left staring in the face of grief. A sense of terror grips at me and I feel like I need to preserve them as I have always known them to be, especially now as they grow to be nearer to the end of their lifespans. I am here because of them. Much like if a fruit tree were aware that it has been planted from seed, a silent witness to the labor that was invested to help it grow. Cyclical is the thought of the tree in need of giving back; heavy is the anticipation of not being able to give enough. At twenty-three I see how age has taken their strength even if they don’t see it themselves, and as the days go by I have yet to feel like I’ve put anything on the table. So, I have found myself reaching for my camera in desperation, because when they are gone, I will be left with this house and their wisdom, and someone will have to make sure the trees bear fruit for the next generation.

Arizona State University – BFA