Who is Jose Gregorio? Who can help me make 3D statuettes!?
I'm launching an online store in SOMEDAY. And that store will have Jose Gregorio statuettes, crystals and more cool ish for the home.
A dark silhouette of a man with a hat with hands clasped behind his back is instantly recognized by any Venezuelan as Jose Gregorio.
Jose Gregorio Hernandez to many Venezuelans is a saint - although to the Catholic church, the jury's still out on that one. He was a doctor who treated the poor without charge and was beloved by all.
He died in 1919, run over by what they say, was the only car in Caracas.
Caracas ran out of flowers the day of his funeral - the entire city went to pay their respects.
I love him, along with my black statuette of him. Not because of any religious or spiritual beliefs but because he reminds me of home.
I bought the small figure on a trip to Caracas in 2015 - I hadn't been home in many years. I hadn't seen my cousins, aunts, or the house my parents raised us in. I was inundated with smells and phrases that I had forgotten but at the same time felt so familiar. It was a happy but tough trip.
Why? Because Venezuela is in really bad shape - it's even worse now but in 2015, it was still shocking. Very violent. Food and medicine shortages. A lot of poverty. Filthy streets.
To add to the strain, my visit was due to the fact that I had just quit my job in Miami on a whim and had no idea what I would do - a la millennial. I went to Caracas to spend time with my dad and get my sh*t together.
Where did I get this Jose Gregorio?
My aunt took me to this beautiful store called Siete Cubos in a cultural center in Caracas on my last day there. They had tons of figurines of our culture. In neon and black they had several Virgin Marys and Saints. I had also forgotten about these. I picked out the black Jose Gregorio statuette and took it in my hands on the plane.
If you want to learn about more cool Venezuelan things, read this post.