When we photographed her, it was nine months to the day she found sanctuary in a small Southwestern church to avoid deportation. The community she has been a part of for thirty years has rallied in support, and people speak of her with words like kind, a nurturer, strong in her faith, a great sense of humor, and humble. They have started a website called Rosa Belongs Here where they have vowed to stand by her.
During our first meeting, a reporter from the Washington Post was there writing a story and a photographer was en route to document her. Her story has also been told in the LA Times, in many other publications and news broadcasts, and yet Rosa is sure to tell you that she is a normal person just like anyone else, who is in an unusual situation as she sorts out her immigration status.
She keeps very busy, so much so that it took several phone conversations and emails to book a photo session. Each time we came by, there were friends with her for a yoga or craft class, or just to pop in to check on her. Pastor Craig is also there and every night someone from the church or community comes to stay overnight so she is never alone.
Now when we drive by the Methodist church in Mancos, Colorado we think of how we are free to come and go as we like, drive to see friends, take hikes, go to the dentist, take care of our daily errands, care for someone who is ill or hospitalized, and how Rosa is still there in the church trying to stay close to her U.S. citizen family in nearby Cortez and remain a part of the community that is her home.
We are pleased to introduce an extraordinarily kindhearted and patient woman in a mind boggling situation, Rosa Sabido …
SWD GUEST Q&A
The questions are always the same. The answers are always unique.
SWD: Are you originally from the Southwest? If not what brought you here?
Rosa: No, I am from Mexico originally. I came here for the desire to change and improve my life. My parents and I live in Cortez, Colorado and I have lived there, at the same address, for thirty years.
SWD: Soft tacos or crunchy?
Rosa: Soft. I grew up eating soft corn tortilla tacos and crispy ones for tortillas.
SWD: What are your favorite adventures or getaways in the Southwest?
Rosa: I have always worked most of the time, but the experience and the smell of nature, I admire. I love Lake Powell. Really, if you step anywhere in Southwestern Colorado it’s beautiful. How can one pick a favorite spot? Everywhere is a postcard. Sometimes when I would take a break from work, I would drive to a remote place to see the views of Ute Mountain, La Plata Mountains and Mesa Verde. At my house you can see Ute Mountain. And sunset is my favorite time of day. The sunsets here are like no other.
SWD: What is your favorite margarita?
Rosa: The original classic.
SWD: What is your favorite Southwestern National Park?
SWD: Red or Green (or Christmas?)
Rosa: Depends on the mood. I prefer green, but red is not a problem. Also, Christmas in Mexico is called “the flag” because of the green, the white (cheese) and the red of the flag. So I would have the flag, or Christmas.
SWD: What is the most satisfying aspect of what you do?
Rosa: All the time — cooking. I cook for people at meetings, sold my food at the farmer’s market, and gone into business selling my tamales and other goodies. I have always cooked. While I am here I love Sunday service, yoga classes, stained glass classes, jewelry classes, weight lifting, visualization and prayer meetings. And the people who come by all the time.
SWD: What is the most challenging aspect of what you do?
Rosa: Lack of freedom and all that involves.
SWD: Is there a place outside of the Southwest you would like to visit? Some intriguing spot around the world?
Rosa: I am third generation Italian so I would love to see where my ancestors lived in Italy.
SWD: Is there a Southwestern destination you’ve been wanting to visit?
SWD: Corn or flour tortillas?
Rosa: Corn. You can create so many things with them — tortilla chips, tortilla soup, tostadas.
SWD: What do you absolutely refuse to eat?
Rosa: Raw or runny eggs, pork feet or chicken feet.
SWD: This may have just been answered, but … What are your thoughts on menudo (and no, we don’t mean the boy band)?
Rosa: I can eat it, I grew up with it. When I’m really hungry it tastes so good and warm. It’s good! But then you feel it going through the body and you think “oh, why did I do that?” and you’re like “oh no, let it go away!” Oh well.
SWD: Do you cook? What are some favorite dishes you like to make?
Rosa: I like so many things, and I love to create new dishes. With no recipe, free to make anything. My most known dishes are my tamales. They take twelve hours to make. Pork, beef, chicken and poblano. And I am not limited to Mexican, I like to try ingredients from many different cultures.
SWD: If you hypothetically moved away from the Southwest, what would you ask people to send to you in a care package? What would you miss the most about the Southwest?
Rosa: Green chiles. Sage. And send me the sunsets from my house.
SWD: Where is your favorite Green Chile Cheeseburger?
SWD: Do you have a mantra?
Rosa: I have so many. God, help me to be like you. To always talk when I should and stay silent and listen when I should. Let go and let God. I always pray to live in peace, the peace of the Lord.
Here is a link to the website that has been created in support of Rosa: Rosa Belongs Here
Here is their Facebook page