|Alize (far right) harvesting with fellow MAP Youth|
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico on a small strawberry farm that belonged to my grandparents. I don't remember much because I was so young but I do remember waking up every morning to the smell of strawberry pancakes that my grandfather would cook up. After the meal I would go outside and run through the meadow with our dog, stopping along the way to eat some of the delicious strawberries that littered the garden. Strawberries were my day to day and some people would think that I got tired of them, but the truth is they brought my family together and will always be a part of me. I moved to Buffalo when I was 2 years old and that was the worse day of my life. The look of sadness on everyone's face was heartbreaking and it was raining that day so it looked like the strawberries were crying too. Every time I go back to Puerto Rico I visit my grandparents and the strawberries and it brings back so many of those small memories that I remember. But because of recent events, like the hurricanes and earthquakes, my grandparents farm is no longer in existence. It breaks my heart knowing that my siblings will never be able to experience what I did as a child. I think I appreciate strawberries and crops more because of my grandparents. Now every time I see or smell strawberries it make me think of home and wonderful memories.