Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Paraguay #9: Open Veins

Like a Vein
Note: This Entry comes from my Mother, Elizabeth Stocking, one of our group on the trip!

It is evening now and events of the day find their place in our hearts and bones. The red Paraguayan earth accompanied us all day as we travelled miles to Santa Catalana, site of the Iala Guarani, Insitute of Latin America Agriculture. Early in the trip our translator, Kim told me about a book called Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano. It talks about the ways in which Latin Americas has suffered due to greed and policies of other countries.   As we criss-crossed the countryside on what seemed barely roads the redness of the earth was everywhere & I thought of Paraguayan veins reaching into the countryside.
The institute we visited for the day is where new life is flowing into the veins.  The dream of an agricultural school is becoming a reality as students from Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, Argentina gather to study, committed to a 5 year programme , and slowly transform a former pig farm into a university.
Class in Session at IALA Guarani
There is fire in the blood of the young students; a passion for the earth and social justice for campesinos. Would it stretch this analogy too much to say that the home of Mariano Jara has much to say about the open veins of Latin America?  He is a founder of the school that we visited and it is his home and his widow that we visited before coming to the end of our day. Mariana Jara was assassinated.  He had survived imprisonment and torture during the Stroessner dictatorship for his work in the campesino movement but while sitting to rest on the quietness of his family porch November 26 2010 an assassin crossed his garden and shot him nine times. His wife of 32 years and witness to this brutal crime told us his story today sitting in her garden.
The blood from his veins spilled into the veins of Paraguayan earth that November day.   Yet it is seen flowing in the veins of the young people at the school he helped bring to life. The determination of the campesinos to hold onto this land of theirs is as vibrant as the soil with which they work. In this profound way life continues though it is lost.
 What flows in the veins of Canadian soil, in our hearts and minds and that of our children? How would we describe it and what colour would it be?    

A Bullet hole sits at the top right of the Chair where Mariano in the spot where Mariano was shot and killed.

1 comment:

Joan O'Connell said...

Elizabeth, I too was told of this book on my exposure trip, to Ecuador. It is a very important book and makes you realize how skewed the history we were taught in shcool was and how skewed still is what we read in mainstream media and form most of our politicians. I borrowed this book from the library but found it so important that I ended up purchasing it. I still can't believe that it is not better know in Canada. Another really interesting one about what the Americas were like before the Spanish "conquest" is 1491. So much was lost. I have both and would be pleased to lend them to you on your return.

Joan O'Connell
Ottawa DC