1. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
My name is Johana. I am Mama Tortuga. I was born and raised in Colombia. My mother had to immigrate after my father died. After that, I stayed with my grandparents for 6 years until when she was able to bring me to the United States. Here I met my partner for life, Francisco from Honduras. We decided after having a relationship for 5 years, we got married!!
Now, we are raising two children in a completely different culture and style of life from the one both of us were raised in. We love nature and simple living. We believe in living a life where we can be respectful with everyone and protect nature. We also believe in the power of community and the power of being ourselves!
Which cities have your lived in/ visited in your lifetime? Which is your favorite?
I really like where we live right now, which is South Florida, US. When I was a child I lived in a place called Aguazul which is in the East part of Colombia, a zone called “Los Llanos”. But I love mountains. I grew up surrounded by mountains in a city called Bogota.
What do brought you to what you do?
Definitely, being a mother. When I became a mother, that made me think about the kind of world I wanted to have for them and the community I wanted to have. Also, raising them to be multilingual citizens of the world!
- What is one aspect in raising multicultural children do we need to be MOST aware of .
At this time, we need to grasp the historical baggage of our cultures, countries of origin and the dangerous trend of being oblivious to it. I believe that in not acknowledging our problems we are bind to repeat toxic patterns. Raising multicultural children in an increasing global society makes many people that haven’t heal and grasp those historical fears and pains, very afraid of others. Sadly, the white supremacists agenda masked by nationalistic points of view is really putting all of us in danger. It is a worldwide spread disease that we need to address.
What is one personal challenge you have overcome growing up?
Fear. I grew up in a very violent time and my family was constantly full of fear. I am choosing to live a life free of fear to make my own decisions and also allow my children to do the same regardless the circumstances.
Share with us two parenting hacks that have made life easy.
A relationship with your child is the most important ever. We can’t have a healthy relationship with our children if we don’t heal ourselves. That is one thing we need to work on every day. Think about it as a garden. You need to water it every day.
What projects are you working on next?
I am continually working on many local projects of activism and support to parents and families in my community. Right now, I am supporting different initiatives to support immigrants and refugees in Palm Beach County and also, supporting multilingualism in my community. Also, raising the consciousness around human and nature rights.
Also, right now, I am having a series of IG Lives, presenting community friends from around the world that are making a positive change in the world! #mamatortugacommunityfriends
What is one thing piece of advice you would give to children?
Be yourself and nature is your best friend. Learn from nature and play!
Tell us three things that are on your bucket list?
Visit Japan and get into an onsen. Watch the Aurora Borealis. See a world of World Peace.
What 3 books/movies would you say changed your life?
This is a hard one!! But 3 of my favorite all time books:
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Pax by Sara Pennypacker and The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu.
Movies: On the Way to School, The Embrace of the Snake, Ready Player One, 50 First Dates.
Do you have any freebies for our readers?
Yes!! I have a series of Latinamerican Women that Transcended, study guide in English and Spanish https://www.mamatortuga.org/latinamerican-women-series