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Member Spotlight: Mapi Buitano

Kathleen Morrow | Published on 2/1/2022

Where she’s from

Originally from Lima, Peru, Mapi moved to the U.S. in 1990 to study and has made it her home ever since. You could say she is from the East Coast, since she lived most of her adult life in Washington, D.C., first studying and then working for the World Bank, an organization that fights poverty around the world.

About her family

Mapi’s family is her husband Gabriel, and their five-pound Maltese, Constantino. Focused on her career, she didn't care much about being a mom or building a home for most of her life, until she fell in love some 10 years ago. Mapi and Gabriel were married eight years ago, retired three years ago, and moved to Kansas. Mapi thought she didn’t like domesticity, but it turns out she just needed to find Gabriel. It might have been too late to have kids, but Constantino, the Maltese, plays the child role beautifully.  

Why she joined the League

When she moved here, Mapi knew absolutely zero people: no friends, no ex-colleagues, no extended family. She brought only her interest in politics and in American civic engagement. It is really hard to live in Washington, D.C. for as long as she did and not care about our civics, she said. So Mapi started to look for places where she could volunteer and perhaps meet some like-minded people. She went to a League event and loved it, especially the fact that it was nonpartisan. She found it a great pleasure to find common ground on issues we care about without identifying with any political party, just as Americans. 

What she thinks the League does well

Mapi thinks the way the League channels the energy of its members is amazing. She calls it “really humbling” to have such a group of people donating their time and energy with such passion to a cause that will benefit so many others. There is no LWV person she has met whom she would not love to have as a friend. It is a community of people that are not only generous but also smart. Mapi is glad she gets to hang out with them, even if it is mostly by Zoom so far. 

Where she would like to see the League focus in the future

Mapi loves the work the League is doing on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). It has put a lot of emphasis on the topic, again, with such a generous approach, starting by looking inwards and learning and listening. As a Hispanic woman and an American citizen who speaks with a heavy accent, Mapi reports that she has felt welcomed. She would love to see more people like her being members and working with the League, she knows it will happen. The DEI Committee is working hard to make sure it does!

What she does to strengthen our democracy

She votes! Mapi participates in all elections, no matter how small the issue. If she doesn’t know what the topic is, Mapi does her research. And then of course, she shares all the information with those she knows, so that they vote as well. 

Fun Fact

She loves gardening. It is one of the things Mapi discovered when she got married. Currently she is working on her backyard, turning it into a small piece of heaven, and her husband is her free-of-charge contractor. Mapi has made him dig holes for some 50 trees and shrubs so far (and move tons and tons of mulch). He doesn’t like gardening at all, so her beautiful plants growing in the backyard are a reminder of how much he loves her.  

How she’s coping with the pandemic

Barely, to be honest, she said. It has been extremely isolating, as Mapi and Gabriel had just moved to Kansas when it started. They have been isolating for over two years, without being able to meet people, make friends and enjoy a community. Mapi’s elderly parents live in Florida, and she has made the trip to see them once. Gabriel’s parents are in Spain and Uruguay, completely out of reach. Zoom is good, but it is not the same. Mapi can’t wait for this to be over.