S. Lily Mendoza is a native of San Fernando, Pampanga in Central Luzon, Philippines. She grew up in the small barrio of Teopaco next door to calesa drivers with their handsome horses and their backyard stables. She shared with her five siblings duties feeding pigs and raising chickens and collecting horse manure for fertilizing the small family garden. Although she grew up colonized (tutored by American missionaries and Peace Corps Volunteers and Filipino teachers who taught strictly in English), she retains memories of sitting at her Lola’s feet listening to stories, making sampaguita leis, and watching her Apu Sinang prepare her betel nut chew with much fascination. Currently, she is a third year student at Martin Prechtel’s Bolad’s Kitchen School dedicated to “teaching forgotten things, endangered excellent knowledges, but above all a grand overview of human history…in the search for a comprehension regarding the survival of unique and unsuspected manifestations of the indigenous soul” (http://www.floweringmountain.com/boladskitchen).
Besides learning how to grow a small vegetable garden with her hubby in the heart of Motown, she is also a scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She is the author of Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities and the co-editor (together with Leny Strobel) of Back from the Crocodile’s Belly: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory.