Wednesday, August 31, 2011

herStory in Veracruz

I'd like to show you all what we've been doing here with this piece of land which isn't ours but also isn't not ours (how's that?)  We have been working very hard for three years. This is the skeleton of our home, taken April 12th, 2008.  Ceiba was 8 months old.
 Arturo, our compadre Jeremias also called "El Flaco", a neighbor of his, Rey, and Don Firulais, a solid old man, started and finished "raising palm" on April 15th.

 The next day at noon Ceiba, Arturo and I arrived with Lady the dog and her puppies, and began occupying this space in order to "be the change we want for the world", in the words of Gandhi. 


I don't remember the first time I met Camaron but I do remember from moments he spent here at our ranch with us that his eyes were calm and gentle and he always showed utmost respect to the people around him.   My daughter called him "Tio Camaron" on several occasions, though she didn't remember him the last time he came over sometime last week or so, after an absence of too many months to have counted.  We barely saw him but I did say hello and heard him asking Ceiba if she'd forgotten "Tio Camaron".  I don't think she answered.

I remember that one day he spoke about an uncle who owned weapons and I felt scared at the idea of arms, as I always do at the thought of weapons, in the hands of just about anyone.  In the USA, I think, weapons are rampant but are most often concealed.  Even police keep their guns tastefully out of sight: though visible, not obvious.  Here in Mexico large, long,  two armed weapons are common on all police, security guards, and military personnel at checkpoints that are present throughout most of the country.  (Our military makes its presence known outside our country, the Mexican military makes its presence known throughout its country).  I remember the indescribable sensation I felt when, strolling in an Underground station in London with some friends on New Years Eve, 1999, we came across a group of British police.  They didn't have guns!  They looked SO strange!  I think of the homeless people I've seen and spoken with who are Vietnam vets, and think  of the story a friend told me of the "bum" who "loiters" around his door in Anchorage, who confessed to having killed a man in 1989 and, as a man of indigenous heritage, to being certain that there was no way of clearing the blood from his name.  He told of a girlfriend who was Christian, and who implored him to accept Christ because she worried about his soul if he didn't.  (He'd been in the Army, sent to somewhere in Central America.  He was ordered to kill, no?).

Today the town's yellow newspaper, which is sold at everyone's door to the tune of a recorded scandalous voice yelling "MATARON a un vecino de Jaltipan", that a young man had been shot dead in Coatzacoalcos.  Of course there's a voice in me (and voiced through me) of the opinion that he must have gotten into things he shouldn't have, fallen in with a "heavy" crowd, and that he must have gotten what was coming to him (because this thought somehow protects me from such seemingly senseless violence).  But the rest of me can't stop thinking about the mirada of our friend, who brought us chickens for our dogs when they were unsellable at work, who played with Ceiba from afar and had barely left boyhood himself.  I hope he's moved to a place where the gentle part of his spirit, which we knew briefly but for certain, is given a better chance than it was in whatever circumstances he sought and found in this life.  I pray that he was a believer.  And also that all of that violence finds its resting place for once and for all.

Rest In Peace Camaron

Saturday, August 6, 2011

the view from the other side

 A couple views of our wee domain and baby jungle from the other side of the ravine.  

It was beneath the Macaya in the foreground below that I met Arturo.  I was struck by the simple chivalry in his standing to cut a few large leaves off a nearby tree and laying them down on the red dirt ledge for me to sit without getting my skirt dirty. 
The largest palapa is the Palapa del Fandango, the one in the foreground is the guest house, and our small rooftop is just barely seen to the right in the first pic.