When we visited Benamahoma, well first it took us a few hours to learn to pronounce the town’s name. Beh-Na-Ma-OH-Ma. But in all seriousness, it was only meant to be a stop-off point on our way to Grazalema to speak with the mayoress about her town’s history of repression and about the fosa de las mujeres or “mass grave of the women” that was linked to Grazalema. Ana María and her companions had spoken to us about that site a little that Monday and this was Friday and we were supposed to learn more.
Ángeles García-Madrid is an impressively strong 95 and a half-year-old woman who survived years of injustice torture, and pain in the jails for Republican women under Franco’s cruel regime. In the seminar Megan and I took with Professor Cate-Arries in the fall, we read excerpts of her writing and watched her give her testimony in various documentaries. At the time of the course, both Megan and I were drawn to García-Madrid’s work and experiences and chose to write about them in our essays. We had no idea what was to come, and we never could have imagined that we would get to meet her!
I need to start with a little background information. Our first interview was with a man named José, whom we learned about from his daughter, who is a professor working with the students on the W&M Summer Abroad Cádiz program. He came and spoke with us about his family’s story. Being the incredibly kind person he is, his help did not stop with allowing us to film and photograph him. He offered to pick us up from the bus station in his town to drive us to a little town nearby that would be difficult to get to by public transportation: Jimena de la Frontera. It was there that we were to meet an interviewee and guide on Wednesday the 12th.
I would like to dedicate these last couple of blog posts to sharing the stories of two incredible and courageous women that I had the privilege of meeting during our last 5 days in Spain.