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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. 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 we want all to thrive in

Friday, May 20, 2016

Day 11: morning What would you give for food?

What a beautiful way to begin a day! I would do this for the rest of my life, if only. 6:30a.m. I’m on the beach, stretching. Then I jog 30 minutes, 4 times up and back on the hard packed sand close to the water’s edge picking up the few scattered bits of basura – broken glass, hotel plastic cups, beer cans and straws, straws, straws along with cigarette butts; do my Tibetan stretches, and then swim in the clear beautiful calm refreshing waters of the sea.
Today as I gather up my towel and bag to head back to my room to shower, put on my Black Womyn’s Lives Matter t-shirt, and then go to breakfast, a womon walks down the steps to the beach as I begin to walk toward them. She is talking to me and I realize when we get closer it is my first friend I made in Cuba, Josefa.
She is speaking very rapidly, lugging a white woven plastic sack over her shoulder whose edges are as frayed as her skirt. As she drops the bag to the ground, I hear the tinkling of plastic cups and bottles, and metal cans crunching to the sand. As she continues, speedy words accompanied by wild gestures and painful expressions, I can only understand her saying she is hungry and she doesn’t have any money.
What does it do to a womon’s psyche or soul to hear another womon say she is hungry just before the first womon goes to stuff her face at a copious spread of way too much food? In my life I have never, ever been so hungry I had to collect cans in order to eat.
I wonder how the well-fed people of Cuba feel about these hungry people living in their midst? I wonder what the hotels do with all the left-over food the tourists don’t consume?
The womyn who work the restaurant tell me they eat before they start work and get food from a different kitchen than the tourists’ kitchen. I can’t figure out if they think their food is better than the tourist food or poorer. I love the food here because there are always a variety of beans and rice, raw fresh veggies, steamed veggies, and fruit that all taste like food should taste, food used to taste when I was growing up.
Plus delicious fresh fish and scrambled eggs – everything I choose to eat.
But there’s no strong spice, no hot peppers, only a ground black pepper that appears more latte-colored than black waiting in glass shakers on each table. And I’m sure nothing Cuban about the feast but at least it’s not MacDonalds or Waffle House.
But here is Josefa, searching the already hot beach for beer cans and plastic cups tourists have carelessly discarded so she can make a few pesos and maybe get some little thing to eat.
I see she is still wearing her broken flipflops and I ask her why and where are her new ones (which I bought for her yesterday). She is horrified and says no way would she wear them now, they are too good. She indicates they are on top of her closet, a large wooden box that stands on its side and holds a few clothes folded in stacks. She declares firmly they are special and she will wear them when she is not working.
It seems, always when I’m seen outside the hotel area, at least one person approaches me and asks for money. They are usually terribly thin and old, although once a younger womon with a sweet, smiling daughter who looked to be a teenager, asked me for money.
Often after we begin talking, I also get asked for my clothes, shoes, anything I’m not bringing back to the u.s. with me. But I’ve promised all these things to Josefa and her family.
I try to give a peso, at least to the womyn who ask: it is so very little for me to give yet it means so much to her.
I have never in my life been forced to ask for money on the street, for this I’m grateful. There were times I was desperate enough to seriously consider selling my body and even selling drugs, but was fortunate enough to not have to.
I can’t imagine what it takes for someone to have to beg for money to survive but so many humans around the world are forced to, at the very least if they’re lucky and often forced to do even more egregious things.
And why is asking for money so egregious, so shameful? It is not the fault of the person but the fault of the society as well as the people who take so much, leaving little or nothing for others. It is those people who are asked for money or help that should be ashamed for not seeing and realizing their sistah human needs help.
Why should we allow this, the begging for help, to happen? I’ve read what the u.s. and England alone spend daily on perfume would feed all the world’s hungry. Why is it more important to us to smell like tabu or channel or whatever than it is to make sure people do not go hungry?
I wonder what the people in Cuba who have more choose to spend their money on instead of feeding those that have less.
I have not given Josefa any money yet but I have promised her my clothes and things when I leave, even though she will probably swim in them, they are old, and they will be very dirty. She insists she doesn’t care.
I will go eat my fill and more if I want, while Josefa continues down the beach to look for garbage that might or might not turn into food.


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