On the road to the border

And the child never perceived there was a bill to pay for the tiny bulb that lit up his nights…


 

Hacia la frontera Camino Pasto a Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia
Towars the Ecuadorian border.         The road from Pasto to Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia

 

Two days later, he placidly arrived to the city of Ipiales. He had crossed more than half of Colombia. Now, he enjoyed the satisfaction of arriving to its southern border with Ecuador.

La sombras de la tarde Popayán, El Cauca, Colombia
Afternoon shadows          Popayán, El Cauca, Colombia

 

He slept the night before in Popayán. Feeling happy, he walked its streets and admired the imposing and beautiful colonial buildings with their white façades.

Now, it was time to cross in into a new and unknown country for the first time in his life. An eminent sense of adventure dominated the traveler, completely mesmerized by his new role as a world trotter

El balcón en la plazuela Popayán, El Cauca, Colombia
Blacony on the small plaza           Popayán, El Cauca, Colombia

It was without the least problem that he breezed through the paperwork at the migration post. Emerging from the Ecuadorian Migration’s Office, he awaited his first steps on a country different from his own. As he set his foot on the Ecuadorian ground for that first time, he felt a strong emotion invade him. The feeling was both gratifying, as well as, pleasant.


 

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Uncle Oscar’s dream

Hope is the last resource on a road, when you have nowhere left to go. And, when I reach the end, only she will be left;

To love and never forget


Luna del Altiplano Copacabana, Provincia Manco-Kapac, Bolivia
A moon in the highlands             Copacabana, Manco-Kapac Province, Bolivia

 

One good day, her uncle Oscar, decided to pack all his belongings in a rug sack. It was now time to pursue a dream, which he had held in his heart for many, many years.

Aterrizaje ciudad de México, DF, México
Rising above       México City, DF, México

 

 

When he had completed packing his things, he perceived the ambivalent poverty and wealth of his existence. All his material possessions could actually be perfectly accommodated in a small black backpack set on his shoulders, with a total weight of almost five pounds plus a few extra ounces.

Amanecer Ciudad de México, DF, México
Dawn          Mexico City, DF, México

 

 

He pondered philosophically upon his material condition for a few moments: I have plenty and more than enough, he thought to himself smiling. Having determined his value in life, he followed through with his plan.


 

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One of the favourites, Uncle Oscar

And I discovered something wonderful…  not only food can be planted and reaped… this I clearly understood when one of love’s seeds, began to sprout…


 

El balcón verde Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia
The green balcony           Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia

 

But, on the other hand, her Uncle Oscar and her aunt Carito were the saints with the main pedestals in her devotion’s altar.

La plaza de Villa Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia
 Villa de Leyva’s Plaza         Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia

Uncle Oscar, her father’s older brother, happily enjoyed quite the opposite character of his parents. His nature was kind and cheerful, and so, he shared Dora’s fascinating inclination towards looking for and achieving, all the adventures and pranks possible in her young world.

La finca del tío Oscar Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia
 Uncle Oscar ‘s plantation          Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia

 

Consequently, the niece maintained herself with them when in the plantation. With them, time did not go by… with her uncle, it was lived.


 

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The Old-childs and the Grandparents

And the best gift I ever got in this life was my childhood…


Domingo en el pueblo Barichara, Santander, Colombia
Sunday in town           Barichara, Santander, Colombia

 

At her tender age and in view of her inexperience, it would be asking too much of the child to understand that her Grandparents, never enjoyed a moment of infancy.

El paso del tiempo Barichara, Santander, Colombia
The passing of time           Barichara, Santander, Colombia

 

Totally opposite to Dora and her friends, they had been conceived and born into the world as adults to grow up like young grown-ups, since they were children.  You could say they grew up as old-children.

Serious and mature since they were children, it was an effort to abide next to genuine childhood; mostly because, they just couldn’t understand it.

El paso del tiempo Barichara, San Gil, Colombia
Walking the streets             Barichara, San Gil, Colombia

Infancy’s magical world consisted in an inexplicable and certainly illogical enigma, for it was a realm sadly unknown to Don Abundio and Doña Katalina. When they had that moment in life within their reach, they allowed it to run by them, and allowed pass unseen and unobserved, always searching for the security, for the shelter, offered by their lives in that world of adults, in the extreme rigidity of the pre-established social conventions.


 

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Grandfather Diego and his reading bouts

He walked through life with his head bent , his mind high,and his thoughts, soared the skies…


El libro de los cielos Rivas, Nicaragua
The book of the skies           Sapsurro, El Chocó, Colombia

 

“Diego always displayed, this beautiful, special ability. What would you think, my child, if I were to say that that your Grandfather could read the skies, just like we read a book?

Atardecer en el Pacífico Playa de la Libertad, La Libertad, El Salvador
Sunset on the Pacific coast          La Libertad Beach, La Libertad, El Salvador

 

Diego never liked to read ordinary books, no ma’am. He used to say he had his own book: The book of my fortune, written in the skies. My book, my dearest Diego would say, is alive, and it re-writes itself every day. And it contained all he needed to know to plan his days and run the homestead.

Amanecer caribeño Sapsurro, El Chocó, Colombia
Caribbean Sunrise           Sapsurro, El Chocó, Colombia

 

Books written on paper, Diego believed, are dead, since they can’t change with the times.”


 

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Inés, the loving Grandmother

And in the looking-glass of the other’s pain, her soul itself, reflected…


Vista del centro San Gil, Santander, Colombia
The downtown view           San Gil, Santander, Colombia

 

Her Grandmother Inés, was a very dear figure in Dora’s life.

El viejo portón San Gil, Santander, Colombia
The old entrance            San Gil, Santander, Colombia

 

She possessed a great empathic insight and knew how to treat her like a fellow companion; she didn’t treat her like a little girl nor like a grown-up (for little Dora was none of these): she treated the young girl like a person, always affectionately and with due respect.

Bajadas y subidas San Gil, Santander, Colombia
Ups and downs          San Gil, Santander, Colombia

 

Constantly happy and loving, her Grandmother had known very rough times in her youth; in effect, she had first-hand experience with pain, and so, she was quite capable of recognizing it in the rest.


 

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Dora, the young girl

In spite of the surrounding concrete, the flower grew, and with a smile, it challenged the world…


Cementerio de la isla Los Ángeles, Isla Ometepe, Rivas, Nicaragua
The Island’s Cemetery          Los Ángeles, Ometepe Island, Rivas, Nicaragua

 

On occasion, certain gestures the child made reminded her so strongly of Dora’s mother: such a likeness, especially at that age: oh my darling daughter, how soon you left us. May you rest in peace…

Las escaleras de los mosaicos rojos San Gil. Santander, Colombia
The bright red-tiled steps           San Gil. Santander, Colombia

 

Dora’s favourite spot in which to spend the mornings was right at the beginning of the steep climb. The hours would happily pass, while she, engrossed in her own world, enthusiastically played, or she read one of the books, that she always carried.

Puente sobre el río Fonce San Gil, Santander, Colombia
Bridge over the Fonce River           San Gil, Santander, Colombia

 

Yes, that was definitely her favourite place, in front of the house with the yellow façade, sitting on the fresh red tiled bright mosaic steps, so spacious, yet so cozy. When the neighbours passed by, they would smile and greet her warmly, for they knew the little girl’s situation well.


 

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On the road to San Gil

La quebrada Cañón del o, Santander, Colombia
The gulley             Chicamocha Canyon, Santander, Colombia

San Gil is a bit more than then 60 kilometres to the south from  Bucaramanga, the capital City, as the crow flies or on a straight path.

Arco Iris Cañon del Chicamocha, Santander, colombia
Rainbow            Chicamocha Canyon, Santander, Colombia

The bus to Bogotá makes that journey of amazing Santanderian landscapes in a little more than a couple of hours of abrupt and tight curves, as it skirts the Chicamocha Canyon, till if finally arrives to San Gil as a stop-over.

La vida en el valle Cañón de la Chicamocha, Santander, Colombia

Life in the valley             Chicamocha Canyon, Santander, Colombia


If on that particular weekend, it was her turn to spend it at her paternal grandparents’, then she took an additional small bus for an hour’s ride to the close by coffee plantation where they lived.


 

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During the week ends

Bajada a la plaza San Gil. Santander, Colombia
Walking down to the plaza           San Gil. Santander, Colombia

Since she was a child and after the death of her mother, for an interval of various years, the young Dora was sent to the city of San Gil and to the town of Barichara, both belonging to the Santander Department, in the north-east of the country.


 

En la plaza Barichara, Santander, Colombia

At the plaza    Barichara, Santander. Colombia


It was during the weekends, on the holidays, and the long weekends that she would alternate between both places. Her Grandparents, on her father’s side, lived in Barichara, where they had a coffee plantation on the outskirts of the lovely town.


Subiendo a la casa de la abuela San gil, Santander, Colombia
The climb to Grandmother’s house           San gil, Santander, Colombia

Her Grandmother, on her mother’s side, lived in San Gil in the heart of the peaceful city.


 

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Miss Rosario’s chocolate

And why are the angels so sad, momma?  Because the good one die, and the bad ones keep on running around.


Miss Rosario had a lifetime of serving as a teacher; she had performed at her position, as the Science Professor, for more than thirty of her seventy eight years that summed up her age.

Sanctimonious, insomuch as she held a deep, passionate devotion. Miss Rosario, like her students, was the daughter of a policeman, Capitán Octavio Restrepo, who was killed by a bullet in the times of the Violence, when she was barely a child, preparing for her First Communion.

From that moment on, she became introspective, finding shelter in her studies, always standing out among the first places of her generation. Graduating with honours, she turned her affection to the hundreds of daughters, life had lent her; who went by through the years of her long life, in that classroom where she taught the Social Science course.

Celibate, even though when she was young, a failed romance almost led her to lose it, and still, on certain occasions of insomnia, half asleep, she would ask at night, what would have happened if…

 


 

 

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