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Maria Salomé
Housekeeper from Guatemala
Oil on canvas 40” x 30”

Maria Salomé's husband abandoned her with their five children in Guatemala. She got a job as a laundress yet couldn't earn enough to feed them. "They were malnourished," she said, through an interpreter. But the only job available to a woman to earn the money needed to support a family was prostitution. Deeply religious Maria shook her head. "Indecent work! Never!!" Her only option was to leave them and find a "coyote" to sneak her into the U.S. After a long and harrowing journey she became the beloved housekeeper to a couple in Queens, New York, earning enough to support herself and all five children. Years later, she was able to pay a lawyer to get her documentation. Having missed their graduations, weddings, and the births of grandchildren, Maria recently returned to Guatemala to visit and hug her children after being separated twenty years.

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