An Iowa woman born in Guatemala is the subject of a public television documentary this week on I-P-T-V. “Discovering Dominga” is about the young wife and mother who realized her nightmares were real memories of a massacre in the home village where she’d lived as a child. IPTV producer Sara Frascher says a cousin’s questions began a search for information about the woman known today as Denese Joy Becker. She told the producers the nightmares began shortly after she arrived in Iowa and continued all her life — she may have suppressed the bad memories, but she remembered a lot. Those memories included growing up as a girl named Dominga, and the killing of her family in what later became known as the Rio Negro (NAY’-grow) massacre. They took all the women and children out of the village, but her mother strapped the baby to Dominga’s back and told her to run into the mountains but there she couldn’t keep the baby alive. After burying her little sister, Dominga lived in a refugee camp before finding an adoptive home in Iowa when she was ten years old. She never forgot her name was Dominga, or forgot the experiences, but she didn’t talk about them. Meanwhile the girl everyone known as Denese was growing up with a loving extended family in Algona, including an adoptive cousin who grew to be a friend as well. And the cousin started searching the Internet, found the Rio Negro Massacre and details matched what Dominga had told her. Later they contacted human rights groups that raised money so she could travel there. Public television producers who learned of her story produced a documentary that airs this week on the national program P-O-V, and Iowa Public Television will precede its showing with a locally-produced segment on the program “Living in Iowa.” To find when the show airs in your area, check www.iptv.org”.
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