Ferguson Library Tell Your Story Interview: Ana Maria Badash

Title

Ferguson Library Tell Your Story Interview: Ana Maria Badash

Description

Recording of interview with Ana Maria Badash done on July 12, 2017 at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut. Ms. Badash talks about her family and herself in Honduras and the struggles they faced politically. She talks about the work she does with the Stamford Public Schools and with the Latino community in Stamford. She also relates about the changes she has witnessed in Stamford and some profound experiences in her life.

Creator

The Ferguson Library

Publisher

The Ferguson Library

Date

2017-07-12

Contributor

Skornia, Frank J., interviewer

Rights

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Format

audio/mp3

Language

English

Type

Identifier

FL.tellyourstory.amb.001

Coverage

Twentieth century
Stamford (Conn.)
Honduras

Interviewer

Skornia, Frank J.

Interviewee

Badash, Ana Maria

Location

The Ferguson Library, Stamford, Connecticut

Transcription

I was born in San Pedro Sula, Republic of Honduras, Central America in 1933. I moved to Stamford with my family (husband and 2 children) in 1965.

My father was active in the community of San Pedro Sula, and held several community positions (president of the Chamber of Commerce and President of the Executive Board of the Hospital, mediator for the United Fruit Co., Consul of Costa Rica and Consul of France, etc.). He was also a political writer, and became involved in national politics of Honduras. My mother was a homemaker, and also edited my father’s political articles.

I have been a bilingual Social Worker Assistant with the Stamford Public School system for 48 years (since 1969), and continue in this job today. My primary focus has been to help provide educational services as well as other related needs of daily living (such as help with housing, food, physical and mental health) that support the educational growth of Latino families in Stamford.

For several decades, I have also been very active in the Latino community. I have served on the Boards of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping immigrants achieve personal growth (e.g. Spanish International Center, Crisol/Acuarela, Literacy Volunteers, Domestic Violence, the Exchange Club Parents Skill Center, and most recently, Building 1 Community (formerly Neighbors Link). I also volunteered evenings as a Spanish interpreter for immigrants at Legal Services in Stamford for a number of years.

I have 2 children who spent their childhood and adolescence growing up in Stamford during the 1960s/70s. At that time, Stamford was a much smaller, suburban community than it is today. Both children attended Stamford Public Schools.

My childrens’ childhood and teen years in Stamford differed dramatically from mine. I grew up in in the hot, humid, tropical climate of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. As a child, I enjoyed climbing mango trees, and playing with my friends. We would read “novelas” and then share stories as we walked to Catholic school. I came from a very old, established family in Honduras with many extended relatives; my mother came from a family of 13 children. My maternal grandfather, Leon Martinez, was mayor of my hometown, San Pedro Sula, prior to the 1900's. One of his sons, Leonardo Martinez, MD, was a physician. Shortly after he graduated from medical school, there was an outbreak of Yellow Fever in San Pedro Sula. All the other doctors left; he was the only doctor who stayed to treat patients. Eventually, he contracted Yellow Fever himself, and died. The local charity hospital in San Pedro Sula bears his name "Hospital Leonardo Martinez," in honor and remembrance of his life investment to save residents' lives.

During my childhood, the Honduran government was a dictatorship. Since my father was involved in politics and frequently wrote articles that challenged the views of the president, I grew up with a feeling of trepidation about his safety.
Stamford Information

We moved to Stamford from Florida in 1965 due to my husband’s job change. Upon arrival, we initially moved into a 2-family house in Glenbrook, and later moved into our own home in a quiet neighborhood, also in Glenbrook. The children made close childhood friends in that neighborhood, and have maintained those friendships to this day.

At that time (1960s and 70s), Stamford was a much quieter community. There was little traffic, people were more polite; it had much more of a small-town feel to the community than it does today. Families often stayed for decades in the same neighborhoods and schools. Many of the classmates that my children started with in elementary school were still together when they graduated high school.

Living in Stamford for the past 53 years, I would say that Stamford has changed drastically since I first moved here. As I recall, Stamford began growing noticeably starting in the 1970s (?) when large corporations began to move to Stamford. Today, Stamford has many of the benefits – and problems – of a big city. Traffic is heavy and often frustrating, and people are noticeably more rushed and impatient. We’re fortunate to have a strong police department today in Stamford, but unfortunately, the police are much busier now than they were when we first arrived.

Through my own work within the educational system, I have also seen the community demographics of Stamford change. In 1973, the Board of Education began its first bilingual program for incoming Latino immigrant students. Around the same time, I began working a second job at a night Adult Ed program at Wright Tech High School for non-English speaking immigrants; along with other staff, I provided counseling and advice to foreign adult students. I continued to work there for 21 years. I also worked a third job, at the Child Guidance Clinic, as a caseworker for 17 years. I mention these programs because their inception was a reflection of the changing demographics of Stamford. When I first moved to Stamford, the residents were primarily white; today, Stamford is proud to be a very diverse community comprised of many nationalities.
Veteran Information – None

Immigrant Information

After graduating from high school in Honduras, I came to the United States in 1950 at the age of 16 to start college. I came here on a banana boat, and arrived in New Orleans. At that time, I did not speak English. I moved to New York, and began English classes. I attended Marymount College, and later transferred to Columbia University in New York, where I received a B.S. in French. I also met my husband at Columbia, and we were married in 1957.

After my children were born in 1959 and 1962, I began bringing the children back to Honduras to spend summers with my family there. We continued spending summers there until they were in their early teens.

Memories

I would say that the most important, meaningful experience of my life was raising my children, and watching them grow up. I am very proud of who they have become as adults, and that they both have chosen to do work that helps increase awareness of global and social/political issues. We are a close and happy family.

Two other profound experiences in my life relate to my family in San Pedro Sula.

In 1983, my mother – who was about 93 at the time – was abducted by Farabundo Martí terrorists in Honduras. (Farabundo Martí (FMLN) was a communist terrorist group. They abducted my mother for ransom to raise money to buy guns.) She was held captive for 12 days, but through careful planning and subterfuge, she miraculously managed to escape her captors. She fled through a plantation on the outskirts of town, hailed a cab, and arrived home barefoot – but safe. She went on to live for many more years, and died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 117.

After my mother’s death, my older sister continued to live in Honduras. She was someone who loved traveling, and had traveled all around the world, but ultimately spent most of her life in our hometown of San Pedro Sula. But in 2009, at the age of 88, she was tragically murdered by intruders in our family home in San Pedro Sula. This loss still haunts our family every day.

Both my mother’s kidnapping and the murder of my sister also underscore the radical change that I have seen in Honduras since my childhood. Honduras was once a very safe place, filled with warm, welcoming people. Today, extreme violence and corruption has overtaken the country. I have felt this on a deeply personal level in my family, and I see this daily in my work with traumatized children and families

Original Format

Audio Recording

Duration

00:09:45

Bit Rate/Frequency

320kbps

Collection

Citation

The Ferguson Library, “Ferguson Library Tell Your Story Interview: Ana Maria Badash,” Ferguson Library Digital Archives, accessed April 12, 2024, https://www.fergusonlibraryarchive.org/document/FL.tellyourstory.amb.001.

Embed

Copy the code below into your web page

Item Relations