Today’s La Vida En Black History Month moment comes in the form of a love letter. A love letter written through history, by our ancestors, by our Great Grandmothers and Great Grandfathers…today’s Post is dedicated to mi famila.
Born in the “in between” time my Mummy, Josefa Machado was a bright daughter in the Luces family. She was an enterprising young woman, working at the US Naval Base in Chaguaramas during the 2nd world war as a nurses’ assistant. The Trinidadian peninsula was leased to the United States in 1940 for the construction of a naval base under the Destroyers for Bases Agreement bringing over 30,000 soldiers to the Island nation from the US, Canada, and Great Britain. It boosted the economy and brought a new generation of children into the Trinidadian culture. And Josefa had 5 beautiful boys in Trinidad before the war was done.
My Dad, Pedro Machado was an intelligent, handsome young man with an adventurous spirit and a gypsy’s soul because he loved to travel. He had a way with ladies because of his extraordinary relationship with his sister, Madge and Britta. He wasn’t really joined the merchant marines and came to the United States in the 40’s on a ship he boarded in Venezuela called the Gran Colombia.
After WWII they both headed to The Shell Oil Compound in Venezuela and met, fell in love and had seven more children. I am a proud product of this profoundly beautiful Trini- Vene Tribe.
I am because of them. We all are because of them. They moved from Venezuela to Miami for an “opportunity” for their children. “Get an education” Daddy used to say, “and dont talk about people, talk about ideas.” Pedro was fruitful and had 5 daughters and 6 sons with beautiful intelligent women from all over the world. In his lifetime he worked on futuristic projects at IBM, Control Data Systems in the Silicon Valley of the late 60’s and at Eastern Airlines in Miami, Florida. Unfortunately this force of nature that was my father died “with his boots on” almost 40 years ago. But he lives in us all and is vibrantly alive in all the work we do.
From Josefa we received our entrepreneurial spirit. Her gift was the way she hustled on an international scale. In Venezuela she ran a salon in our house and when we moved to Miami she continued her styling. Buying the latest fashions in Miami and taking trunk shows to her clients in Venezuela and Trinidad, my mother was a stylist extraordinaire! “Do good and good will always follow you” was her catch phrase to us all as chastisement, and as advise. There was never any question that she and God were and more than likely still are the very best of friends, that woman was the closest person to God we have ever known.
My siblings are all extraordinary people, we are an enterprising loving tribe, born of incredibly resilient, resourceful people. We are an attorney, a businesswoman, a chef, a musician, entrepreneur, artisan, engineer, an educator, filmmaker and in the end really “good people.” Our children may not have the riches of Rothschilds or the Rockefellers but they do inherit a history and a legacy of a familial community rich with good music, great food and wonderful stories.
For these and other great stories of The African diaspora in the Americas check for La Vida En Black a documentary series from MimiTVA… This is Episode 1 Trini-Vene Tribe…
Happy Valentines Day Machados and Luces I love you.