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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels across country in my mobile billboard truck as I attempt to engage in dialogue with people in hopes to wake us up and inspire action to change our country and communities and selves. And it is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society and life we want

Sunday, May 22, 2016

At the top - to be continued



Coffee – and the germans furiously smoking again or maybe still – awaits our arrival. It is served in dainty espresso-sized tiny-pink-flowered china cups with matching petite saucer. It is delicious, grown, harvested, roasted and ground there on site.
And slices of pineapple – also grown and harvested right there.
There are tables and chairs sitting under a large thatched roof and as I walk toward the outer edge, I can see so far down and across, I see beyond the land, endless water. The guide who lives here tells me that I am viewing the largest bay in Cuba.
There is the ubiquitous bar, small and off to a corner, then a wooden path lined by various doors on which Spanish signs hang that say: kitchen, storage room, and home – all beautiful dark reddish-brown, colored by the rich earth, small buildings with tile or thatched roofs. And two ‘regular’ bathrooms with a single white ceramic flush toilet and sink in each.
Before we begin our descent to the waterfall, the guide whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, points out the fruit trees, vegetables, pineapple, and even the coffee growing among and between the wild habitat.
He says he speaks Dutch and English, not German. The germans tell him no problem, to speak English. I think one of the men speaks better English then the others, and maybe they all understand a little.
Our guide tells us this national forest has been protected now since the revolution and this nature center has existed for the past 10 years. He points to another section of the land blaringly barren and devastated amidst the surrounding beauty but, he claims, slowly recovering (although I fail to see the recovery) where the u.s. began mining nickel over 100 years ago.
We are taken off the main path opposite the wreckage, to a little overhang and the view captures all our elation! Waterfalls, arroyos, vegetation abound. The guide points out a rainforest below, that I have a hard time distinguishing from the rest of the vegetation.
He tells us there are no big animals there but snakes, scorpions, “raton”-like small animals (that are not rats), and many birds and butterflies. He says there are no poisonous creatures or plants on the entire Island and the biggest mammal are wild pigs that live in deeply forested areas.
He tells us about the indigenous people, who live simply and probably closest to nature and their pre-genocide/colonization ancestors of all Cubans in the mountainous forests and who once a year or two, make the journey into the woods to capture some of the pigs.
He says the whole odyssey lasts several weeks and people end up walking maybe 200 kilometers before finding and capturing the pigs – some of whom are slaughtered and sold to support and feed the people, others are kept to be domesticated.
Julio has already told me there was only one large creature who came out of the seas but lived in the trees many many eons ago but he didn’t know the name in English and we couldn’t figure out what it could be. He also said the next largest animal was a wild dog that was endemic (he likes that word) to Cuba that never barked! How wonderful.
We continue down the path, even as I wish we could have climbed up first, to our next stop, an ancient system that appears to hang over the cliff and I think he says it created energy from water for the revolution and was discontinued after the revolution, but there are future plans for it to be renovated and reactivated.
The guide and I speak in Spanish, as the germans go ahead of us. He shows me an empty hummingbird nest, and reiterates what Julio has told me: Cuba has three hummingbirds: a larger one that is native to Cuba, a medium sized one that migrates here, and a smaller one, that is also native and is the smallest hummingbird in the world!
This nest is made by the biggest hummingbird. The guide tells me he has seen another nest in the forest that has the most minuscule babies in it but this is the only nest we’ll see today.
We arrive at a very noisy intersection where water is rushing through pipes and some kind of mechanical metal thing is loudly moving up and down. I’ve been thinking all along as he talks about the water system, he is saying ‘bomb’. The germans are also confused.
Finally I get it – a pump! The germans repeat, oh pumpa.
The guide tells us when they first opened the nature center, they used so much electricity, I can’t remember how much they had to pay, but it practically closed them before they could get established but 6 years ago they found a very old man who was a farmer living in the mountains with this pump. They brought the old man to the center and bought his pump, which he explains, is totally mechanical and somehow provides all the energy they need – and for free – once they installed it here.
He told me it’s a pump that all farmers in the mountains – I think who lived along or close to the rivers – used to use to get energy for free.

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