Graciela Kavulla tells her husband, Timothy, about her grandmother, who was a midwife.
GK: My grandmother Adelaida Garza Reyes, she was forty-four when she started delivering babies. And, before they would see a doctor, the families in the community would come to see her. And I remember the banging on the door, ”Doña Lalita, Doña Lalita. Ya es tiempo.”
Which meant the husband was there to tell her that she needed to come. She immediately got out of bed and she took off her nightgown. She put on her little cotton dress. My grandfather was up making some coffee for her and, she said, ”No tengo tiempo para el cafe. I don’t have time for the coffee. Cuida la niña. Y me ves cuando me ves. Take care of the child. You will see me when you see me.”
And she left. She never went to school, she was illiterate. And I didn’t realize her illiteracy until I became a little older. One day I was in her kitchen. And she was cooking and my grandfather had this medical book. And he was reading to her. And she suddenly said, ”No Bruno. No entiendo. Dime otra vez. I didn’t understand. Tell me again.”
And he repeated it. And that’s when it first occurred to me, she has learned to deliver babies just by what he has read to her. And he has taught her from these books. And she delivered babies til her late seventies I would say. And I guess, as a kid I never thought about what she was doing. She was so brave, and so strong. And uh… nothing was gonna to stop her.