I was born in a land where the banana plants can reach the line in which the sunset and the see become one, a place which has the smell of the sea salt and the freshly cut wood …that smell between humid wood and plant resin. The roads leading to this land are cover by grey stones and puddles that remains after the rains or simply water that comes from the mountain, surrounded by green ferns and heliconia flowers may you see lizards and frogs on you way, and why not? Hear stories about the “Moaning”, a woman who cries desperately on the full moon nights looking for her children drowned disturbing drunk or tired drivers who find her on their path and are dazzled by her beauty, or hear anecdotes about terrorist groups that kill or kidnap people putting fire on buses and the survivor are lost in the thick tropical jungle.
My land is a mixture of natives, colonizers and slaves: Those who didn’t have alphabet but language, who lived in harmony with their nature among the mosquitos and snakes embroidering basic colorful figures with artisanal fabrics; those people, who came to conquer and take our wealth, our gold, women and our culture with mirror and basic tools; and those black who bring the sound of the drums and the hot and strong blood in their veins, a mixture that made our women to have the color of the cinnamon, the sweetness of the unrefined whole sugarcane and the strength of a worker.
In a small village I was born, many memories come into my mind, some sad, some happy… My house was not a luxury house but was big and close enough to the beach to move the boats that my father used to build with the help of some guys who lived close, away of the village my mom was always at home, I can remember clearly the smell of her sweets coming from the second floor of the house while she was with her ferns saying to the housemaid to turn the oven off, my mother had a lot of friend who were buying things that she was brining from the city. We were three children, my eldest brother, me and my little brother, like cotton, wood and coal, in color and personality. Although my father was too tough with my eldest brother I think we had a happy life, always in vacations we were wearing our swimsuit and my parents were screaming “clean the garden! then you will go to the beach”, we were so excited to finish fast and go to have fun fishing and swimming, my little brother learnt fast how to fish small fishes, while I was making sand castles or my eldest brother was burying my in sand drawing funny things.
Kids in this village they go to school before seven at morning, at that time you will see all the kids going by the seaside with their bags usually bigger than them, some in bicycle carrying one or two or more, you will hear them talking about their street games, because when I was a child few people had TV or telephone on their houses, our school was poor school, many kids they had theirs clothes ripped and they had to share the shoes for school with their sibling at the midday, at that age you may not recognize poorness. I can remember one of my teachers, he was dark and very tall, I remember him writing in the green board with the white chalk and complaining of its dust, at the end of the sessions shinny reflects from the sea were starting to appear on the board, they were moving up to down disappearing, the sound of the waves crashing against rocks cooed me until the bell started and was time for our break, kids running and jumping with ropes, others playing with crystal balls, the smell of eggs and milk from the lunchboxes kept me away from the park, on the garden close to the beach I used to see the clouds through the wiring I was wondering always why they were like squares and not like bubbles like on the cartoons, in the wonder land that is possible!, I used to pay attention scared to the girls who were washing the mops on the seawall, I think because I heard stories about drowned girls who were doing the same and they never appeared again, I used to spend my break eating caramel or jelly with mango and banana that my mother used to make for us. Before to leave school we had to clean our classroom and in some cases the toilets of the whole school, I don’t know I always choose the sweeper.
Going back to home was like victory, I was very good student, I was one of the bests, on the way back all the kids had their uniforms dirty with glue and snots, I remember all them crossing the street from one side to other yelling it seemed they were so happy, some of them stoning mango trees or coconut palms and then running when the owner discovered them, I remember a lot the teacher Doris, she was teaching on the highschool, she and her husband the mathematics teacher were well-known and a respectful family, she used to made the best homemade ice creams, I loved to stop on her house and buy one or two with few coins and enjoy them under the hot sun and the fresh breeze from the sea.
In our home were some lizards and frogs, I never felt disgusted from them until I grew up and I found that my eldest brother put a tale of lizard on my hair and it was moving after being cutted… at the nights sometimes used to rain or be storms, we were always worried that one strong wind took the roof of the house or a flood from the sea invaded the first floor, I was a child and one day in my room I asked to my mother “those lights from where they come from?” she said “there is a big man there outside who is taking pictures of you” now that man have a lot of sense to me and when I remember myself posing for the pictures I think how cute and innocent may I was. I remember sometimes I messed all my room up, fall sleep angry and my father waking me up saying “do you want to eat ice cream” I just jumping from the bed and in our motorbike we were going to the village to eat those melted ice creams that made me so happy.
Like in any fairy tale there is good and bad people, in the wonderland sometimes murmurs about dangerous people coming to the village were heard, people at the sunset were running to their houses afraid to be shoot or caught by them, many night my parents heard the sound of the guns coming from the village, my mother say she used to hide us in small places because they were scared someday those people came to our place, many time they cut the electricity and we remain days and days among candles and wood stoves, some people had power generators but if they were discovered they would be killed, my father many times turned it on to have ice on the refrigerator and to see the news on the television… other nights we spent them hearing stories about adventures and witches from my parents and relatives, even though they were always the same tales was exciting for me hear them on the darkness of the night among the mosquitos hearing the sound of the waves.