The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Thursday, May 28, 2009

La Lucha - The Struggle

I keep watching the Virgin Islands and Oaxaca along with all the other global stuff. Both places have serious problems and solutions seem almost impossible. Both rely on tourism that has dried up and the effects are wide reaching and severe. I am struck by how they are directly affecting my friends and me.

And it will get worse before it gets better.

The islands are stuck with the most inbred and inefficient system and infrastructure one can imagine. The wheels have come off of almost all the carts. It’s a microcosm, a study of how, even in paradise, things can get completely messed up. Each problem has many levels and complications because everything and everyone is so interconnected. For instance, the hospital on St. Thomas, which is recovering from huge embezzlement and mismanagement scandals, does not pay it electrical bills, which of course, the government does nothing about because they don’t pay their bills either. Consequently, the electrical system is broken and inadequate with daily outages and ridiculous prices. And that is barely scratching the surface of the problems there. Yes, there are complaints and attempts to change things, but the system is stacked to fail on almost every front. A lot of it has to do with people’s attitudes. For many of them, they have been too long on a very small island. If hubris were heavy, the place would have sunk long ago.

And people say, “That’s the way it is, learn to roll with it.”

The problems in Oaxaca are different. It is in another social/economic convulsion. The lack of tourists has added to the entrenched poverty. To be sure, there is the same ineptitude and corruption, probably worse, but at least the electricity is always on. However, oaxaqueños attitudes are much different. If there is one thing Oaxacans know how to do, it is to organize and protest. The teachers, in their annual display, are planning on shutting down all the major roads for 48 hours. APPO has taken over the zocalo. The villagers in San Luis Potosi are standing up to mining companies that have been violating laws for years. They just got tired of being taking advantage of. It’s a battle with casualties, but Oaxaqueños are very politically and socially active. They don’t take things lying down.

It’s La Lucha – The Struggle, in both places. Long and difficult.

However, there is an easy and lighthearted solution. Take all the Virgin Islanders to Oaxaca and let the oaxaqueños come spend some time in paradise. The folks from Oaxaca, besides enjoying the beautiful beaches, would immediately fix the infrastructure with sheer grunt work and ingenuity.

The Islanders, besides enjoying the dramatic and wide-open spaces, would immediately set about collecting and saving every drop of water that fell from the sky. They would put up dumpsters for all the trash. The place would be clean.

Both would get to observe the pride of a different and ancient culture. And both could better share in the knowledge that it’s a big world out there and many are suffering much worse. But let’s face it, this ain’t gonna happen. Both places are suffering, but is there a quick way out? Doubtful. It is a big, bad world of hurt out there these days and we are all six degrees away from Kevin Bacon, right - we are all interconnected. It is easier to see the faults and flaws in other cultures and other people than in ourselves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are the blanket.