One autumn a long time ago, I had to rake the leaves at my father’s house.
It was a crisp Saturday morning as I set out to rake his manicured yard.
My father, true to his linear nature, quickly started on the opposite end
of the yard and efficiently raked neat rows into a pile. I began working on
my area, raking along the contours of the yard, the decorative boulders,
the flower beds, working in from the periphery and slowly massing leaves
into various centers. I started to despair after a while, worried that I was
not progressing efficiently. My father finished his part of the yard and left
for an errand, and I spent the rest of the day raking and wondering, mass-
ing up little piles here and there, moving the little piles into bigger piles,
and eventually all the leaves were raked. That’s how this proj ect has felt—
lots of little pieces here and there, massing into something much greater
in scale than the sum of its parts. In this arduous, euphoric, and heart-
wrenching process, I have had the great pleasure to be accompanied and
helped along by some wonderful people. I would like to thank:
My mother, Marlene Camacho Ochoa, for teaching me what it is to be
a scientist, and to ask questions of the world. My father, Ricardo Ochoa,
for giving me space to study my own kind of patología. Thanks also to my
siblings, Ariana and Ricardo, and their families.
My teachers have blessed my life and work in so many ways: Catherine
von Moltke, Mary Haab and Ron Quick, Ruth Behar, la Sandra Cisneros,
Alicia Ríos, Greg Niemeyer, Ann Stoler, Cherríe Moraga, and Barbara Voss.
My advisors and committee members Yvonne Yarbro- Bejarano, Charles
Briggs, Lawrence Cohen, Purnima Mankekar, and Renato Rosaldo pro-
vided unflagging support, engagement, and debate on this work. It has
been my privilege to work with each of you. Charles Briggs and Clara
Mantini- Briggs have supported this work since its inception, and provided
vital advice in the field.