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"I try to be positive. It saves your body and mind a lot of wear and tear. You have to have a positive attitude to live in a complex world."

Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you lived in Goshen? I’ve lived in Goshen most of my life. I lived in a family of seven kids and we still have the house that my parents lived in, right across from the library. I went to school with the mayor of Goshen. (I beat him up in first grade.) I’m 64 years old, so I spend my time any way I want. I moved to Santa Barbara, California for a few years. I U-hauled myself out there and U-hauled my way back. I went because I always wanted […]

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What was the best advice you were ever given?

"To enjoy my children while they’re young and take advantage of every moment to be with them."

I do research for the Horizon Education Alliance a non-profit in Elkhart County. We are looking at improving the educational outcomes of all of our residents. I’m doing the work of evaluating and making sure we’re effective in our work. What was the happiest moment of your life? I couldn’t pick one because I have two kids. So, when both of my children were born. What was the saddest moment? Losing people I love. What was the best advice you were ever given? To enjoy my children while they’re young and take advantage of every moment to be with them. […]

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Photo by Sara Klassen
"...people were very patient and tolerant with us. They showed us what to do and we followed directions."

This interview happened on July 15, 2013 in Lidya’s home off of CR 38. A translator facilitated our communication, so this story is an approximate translation and at times combines the speaker’s words with an explanation the translator gave.  When did you come to the U.S.? I came to the United States in 2000 when I was 46. My sisters and mother had come here 10 years before [me]. My sister’s husband and family had been living in New York, but it was hard to find a job in New York. Then the other side of the family came to […]

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"I like to give to people. This is my heart."

In Olga’s living room, teacup sized cream puffs sit on a plate on a redwood coffee table under a large, gold-framed family portrait on the wall. A stack of pictures and papers splays across the couch between us. We sort through pictures, and stories sift out: a photograph of her English teacher, citizenship papers, Olga as a young girl in Ukraine, her sons—twins who were 14 when they moved to the States, one who was 8, another who was six; a picture with Goshen’s mayor, Alan Kauffman, English class certificates, a photo of a day cleaning fish with her sister […]

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What makes you happy?

"Talking to my dad."

What makes you happy? Talking to my dad. What do you talk about? I Just ask how he is and  about his work.  

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What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

"It just keeps gettin’ better."

If your life was a story what would be its title? I’ll Tell You A Story. Because I’m a storyteller. When do you tell stories, or in what context? Most of what I do right now is with preschool kids, but I’ve also done some for church organizations and retirement homes. It’s what I love to do the best. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? It just keeps gettin’ better. Who told you that? A coworker of mine said that when my daughter was really little and I was challenged by having this little baby to take […]

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What story are you living today?

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"I try to communicate with a lot of people. If we work together, if we help people, we can live better."

How long have you been living in Goshen? I came from Guatemala almost 13 years ago. I’ve been living here a long time. What brought you here? My brother was here and he asked if I want to come. So, I came. Do you have other family here besides your brother? I have two brothers here now. Is that your whole family or are there others still in Guatemala? Yeah, my whole family, my father, they are in Guatemala. Do you see them? I have not seen them in a long time, but I talk with them. Right now I’m […]

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What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

"Do your best at all things you do. That should be enough."

What was one of the saddest moments of your life? The saddest thing was leaving for SST, leaving my friends. SST is Study Service term at Goshen College, where you go to another country to study for three months. I went to Nicaragua last summer. Leaving friends, church, my culture, being thrown into a new place, that was hard. If your life was a story what would be its title? Hymn Sings! Just because I love singing hymns, congregational song. I think its great for building community. It’s inspiring. I love them. I wouldn’t do anything else. If that could […]

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"It is the beginning of the end but it’s also the end of the beginning. It all depends on how you see it."

  If your life were a story what would be its title? Sunset, Sunrise Why? It is the beginning of the end but it’s also the end of the beginning. It all depends on how you see it.  

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