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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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Marisa and Idalmes

Marisa introduces me to her granddaughter and talks about how much she loves her. She makes her say “hello, how are you” in English. I talk to her in English and Spanish and she races off giggling. Then Marisa introduces me to her friend Idalmes.

Both womyn help me express myself in Spanish and they explain to each other everything I’m trying to say. I am very curious about all the new construction taking place & I ask them whether it is the government that is paying for the construction and the land or if it is private.

They tell me (I think), it is Cubans, not the government, that pay for materials and labor. Once the house is built, they do not owe anything to anyone. One womon says she hasn’t worked since the house was finished – she doesn’t want to , she needs rest and peace. The other womon says she works a few months out of the year.

Both womyn tell me they will rent their homes MUCH cheaper than the hotel I’m staying at. I tell them I have an all-inclusive deal this time but maybe next time.

These womyn are best friends. They treat each other so kindly and affectionately – and treat me kindly also – I ask them if they’ve know each other all their lives, and yes they have. Idalmes takes us into her house to show me what I can rent the next time I return, maybe with my daughter and grandchild.

Beautiful bright swirled green tiles form the floor on the entry way and all through the house. The first room we walk into is the living room with the open kitchen right behind it. On the left of these big, long rooms are three bedrooms and at the very end a very modern bathroom. This house is immaculately clean as well, like mine might almost resemble when I know I’m having special company.

A young man is watching tv in the living room. He gets up politely as she introduces her youngest son - who quitely towers over all of us - and comes to shake my hand. She then takes us outside to a little covered porch and then down a few steps to a magical garden with banana trees, lemon, mango, papaya, and an avocado tree. She tells me this is her job, every day, clearing some of the land to plant what she wants to grow.

I ask my same questions about the government and fear and freedom of speech and get the same answers. It is so peaceful here and although they would like more food sometimes and more money, they are happy, their children are happy, and their grandchildren are happy.

I ask if there is violence in Cuba, if men hit their wives or kill them. They gravely tell me no, not at all, but they know that happens in the U.S. – they both have televisions and watch movies. 

We talk about the dangers of more people from the U.S. coming to Cuba. They look at me blankly. I tell them about how good capitalism is at tricking people. They still look at me blankly. They don’t understand how they can be tricked. I tell them someone will come and offer then what they think will be TONS of money for their homes. They might not be able to resist. Once they get the money and a u.s.ofa. person has moved in, then prices will skyrocket (try saying that in Spanish!) And the money they thought was soooooo much, will turn out to be not enough anymore.

It’s called gentrification. They nod wisely and I can see they understand. I explain to them that we in the u.s. are conditioned not to care about other people, the people that we are getting cheap labor from or slave labor, the people whose resources we are stealing. I tell them there’s not a country in the world that we have gone into and not devastated the people.

Oh sure, some people will get very rich – but most people will suffer. 

That’s my fabulous conversation for today! I look at the time and realize I have less than an hour to make it back to the bicycle womon so we hug and kiss goodbye and I head back the way I came.

It takes only 20 minutes for me to get back and I don’t have to get off my bike once - except when my hat flies off as I race downhill. I learn later that I was on my way to the indigenous museum and should have kept going but I had thought it was the other way. 

Grrrrr oh well, I’ll just have to return.


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