Un poco de todo cada día

When I’m not working on projects or my LCW events, I’ll be at the front desk of the Visitor Center. One of the biggest perks (perhaps THE biggest perk) of manning the front desk is interacting with people who share stories of their connections to Manzanar. The exhibits in the Visitor Center are driven by oral histories, and it seems appropriate that a place like this would encourage others to open up and share their stories with us. Often times we get visitors who tell us one of their grandparents or parents were incarcerated at Manzanar. Many people are moved by Manzanar’s very presence and sometimes former incarcerees or their descendants will feel comfortable to open up and freely share their stories. Rangers will offer to look up their relative/s names on the roster from Manzanar or one of the other 9 camps and print it out for them. I see this happen almost every single day and it’s always a wonderful thing to witness. Not many people know that this service is available. All it takes is a bit of searching, and once a relative’s name is found on the roster, we can it print out and they get to take a bit of their family’s history back home. I had the honor of looking up a woman’s parents in our rosters, and being able to help her connect to her past was a rewarding experience. Going back to my projects, I’ve finally started working on the text for the exhibit on the Paiute-Shoshone family. The text introduces the family as an integral part of Manzanar’s earliest layer of history. Much like the incarceration of over 100,000 Japanese Americans during WWII, the Native American history of the Owens Valley tends to go unrecognized. I feel very lucky to get to present this family’s history to the public. On some days, the workload can be overwhelming, but I ain’t mad. Working on a bit of everything every day keeps me productive, and with the projects I get to do, I have no complaints about the workload whatsoever. I’m loving my work, and as long as I’m able to do un poco de todo cada día, I’m happy.

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