The sampaguita flower is a species of jasmine, and the national flower of the Philippines. In this story, it stands for the idea that the process of generations becoming more American does not mean losing many generations worth of rich culture and history. It does not detract from a flower in America to have sampaguita roots.
I have been writing stories for and about Filipino Americans for a few years now – I have been fascinated by stories of culture, adjustment, and change. The sad truth is that as generations pass, culture is often lost – but Sampaguita Roots is not about that. Sampaguita Roots is about culture found through stories of love, family, joy, sadness, hurt, and betrayal, especially in times of war and unrest.
In Sampaguita Roots, we follow the journey of a young woman travelling to the Philippines and reading a series of letters chronicling her family’s history, starting with the seldom-discussed Philippine-American War, following through to her family’s immigration to the United States. She begins with the goal of tracing her father – the family’s former hired help – to fulfill her mother’s last wish, but she soon finds herself on a journey of her own, where she will begin to question her ideas of success, strength, and self.
How close is Sampaguita Roots to being finished?
Sampaguita Roots is currently all written, and just needs to be edited, formatted and polished. I will be updating you all along the way as I hit milestones in finishing this project!