Rachelle Verges

Da iri le Rachelle Verges, aba Taino waria Boriken…

Language Instructor

My name is Rachelle Verges. I am a Taino from Boriken. I studied Civil Engineering at the Universidad de Puerto Rico de Mayagüez and completed my degree at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico in 2015.  In 2016, I moved to Pennsylvania to pursue a job in engineering.

The thirst to nurture my roots began to grow as my steps led me further from the home I had always known. In 2020, a sudden pause in my fast paced life and uncertain times gave me the opportunity to reflect and focus my efforts towards finding a new place to call “home.”  In my search for steady footing, I found Higuayagua in 2021- a yukayeke filled with loving and knowledgeable people, who share their stories, offer their wisdom and make me feel like I belong, like I have found my family, my bohio.

Learning about your culture with your own people, from your own people is a special thing. I have received much love and many teachings while sharing space and experiences with Higuayagua. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I soon started studying Hiwatahia, the reconstructed Taino language, both on my own and in class. I practiced writing and speaking, and actively participated in the zoom classes. When I was asked to join the Higuayagua Language Team, I felt humbled and honored. I now have the opportunity to contribute to the upcoming Spanish-Hiwataha dictionary, to assist in teaching language classes, and to take part in further expanding the reach of our language.  I want to give back to the community and help others find, grasp, and grow their roots and feel pride in being Taino. I feel one of the best ways to strengthen and nourish our culture, while instilling pride, is by sharing stories, wisdom, language and experiences.