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Mindanao is where my Mother Luzminda is from.  Her father founded a small town called Kapatagan in the province of Lanao del Norte, just west of Malawi City.  His name was Ernesto Dequina.  I really don't know much about him except he was a farmer and he adored his wife, Rosa, my grandmother or Lola.  He raised corn, coconut trees, and rice.  He was a strong man who tilled the land morning to night.  I spent every summer of my life here until the violence got too much and it was no longer safe for us to visit.  At least this is what my parents decided.

One summer, my Uncle Dodong built me a swing under a tree in front of the house.

The next summer, he built me a gazebo made of bamboo so I can play outside all day with my cousins.

The next summer I was entranced by long parades of red fire ants marching all over the ground in single file.  They were plump and aggressive and have an awful sting.

Another summer, I watched Lola kill a chicken, slit its throat, boil the water, remove …

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