Sarmiento, Argentina. Sangre Vasca (Basque Blood) is the story of Juan Antonio Mendiola Burruchaga and Milagros Garcia Mendizabal from Bilbao, and their youngest daughter, Miren Edurne Mendiola Garcia, the author’s mother. Defined by some critics as a historical novella and by others as a chronicle, the text recounts the details of the arrival of the Mendiola Garcia family to America, after Juan Antonio died during the Civil War, and scaping from the misery of the Second World War, his widow, Milagros, arrived in Argentina where she will settle permanently.
“Part of my grandfather’s family was already in Rafaela, Las Rosas and Cañada de Gomez (Santa Fe province); there, my mother would study to become a teacher in Rafaela and my uncle Andoni came to work near the town where I live, Sarmiento. That is where it all began,” Maria Isabel Garanzini Mendiola, known as Chabel explained.
Chabel didn´t have a direct link to the organized Basque community in Argentina since there isn’t a Basque club in Sarmiento. However, she was raised in a family that transmitted their love for their Basque origin: “Since I was little I was nursed on the stories of these resilient lives; my grandmother told them to me; my aunt Mary constantly talked about her homeland and taught us to love its language, geography, music, customs, myths, songs, and dances. And for me being Basque was all that,” she shared.
Nor had she experienced it, until Sangre Vasca, the experience of writing the book. Nevertheless, her need to not forget, and the luck of “intimate time and space,” generated by the quarantine during the pandemic converted into an ideal scenario to do so.
“It was a dream that I planned a lot,” she confesses. “First I planned to travel and get to know Bilbao and Zugaztieta, the Arboleda, and I was amazed. I understood why my grandmother, mother and uncles missed that so much. Then I waited to retire, I taught elementary school until 2019, in order to have time to write. And the book is that, it is an emotional overflow, it is to experience memories so that my loved ones last in time, for my children, nephews and those who will come. I am very proud of being a Basque descendant.”
Sangre Vasca has yet to be formally presented, although it will be presented in local media soon in Sarmiento, Santa Fe. But the author also let us know that she will appear online on the Entre Vascos radio program this Monday, September 13th with Rafa Molina and Sebastian Inzunza on Radio Megafon for the Comahue Euskal Etxea beginning at 8pm local time, 1:00am in Euskal Herria.
The book is available on the Editorial HomoSapiens virtual store by clicking on this link.