Basking in a different sun: the story of Conchi Mendiolea

Vidonja Balanzategui, Bianka (2003) Basking in a different sun: the story of Conchi Mendiolea. In: White, Linda, and Watson, Camerson J., (eds.) Amatxi, Amuma, Amona: Writings in Honor of Basque Women. Centre for Basque Studies Occasional Papers Series, No.8 . University of Nevada Press, Reno, Nevada, pp. 31-47.

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[Extract] On a steamy, tropical day in North Queensland in northeastern Aus¬tralia the rain falls so heavily that it fills the backyard swimming pool to overflowing. Inside the air-conditioned house, an old woman lies oblivious to the drumming rains of summer, her mind lost to Alzheimer's disease. Conchi Mendiolea ministers tenderly to her, sponging her, changing her diaper and nightdress, applying cologne and kissing her tenderly on the brow as she settles her back into bed. Afterwards, Conchi's husband, John Mendiolea, feeds her soup, and when he moves too slowly, she says to him, in what little language she is now capable of, "ala, pues" (hurry up). She is Amoma, the grandmother, Conchi's mother, and the life of the house. The activi¬ties of its occupants and visitors revolve around her. Her bed, set up with all the necessities to make her life as comfortable as possible, stands just inside the front door in a large tiled room. The eight years that Conchi and Johnny have spent caring for the bedridden woman have exacted a great personal cost, but they continue to look after her at home because of both family custom and their own deep personal attachment to her.

Item ID: 53855
Item Type: Book Chapter (Scholarly Work)
ISBN: 978-1-877802-09-6
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2018 02:23
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1603 Demography > 160303 Migration @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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