Monday, May 26, 2008

Palos Blancos

I took a three day break from tramites to come to Palos Blancos to visit Daniela were she is doing her field work. Palos is, well it's a hole. the town itself that is. It's a market center for the agricultural towns around here and for the sawmills that process the hardwood harvested illegally in the territory around here. It is populated by migrants from the altiplano, whose vision of what the landscape should look like is based on the arid deserts and grasslands of their homes. as a testament to that, somebody just cut down the last three trees next to the main intersection. So much for shade.

The colonists who have arrived from the altiplano have brought with them, not only their love of open spaces without trees, but also their frugal economy, their windowless brick houses and heavy, warm clothing. The whole town feels out of place in these hot, forested tropics.

Which all changes the minute you get out of the town and out of the colonies and into the Original Community Lands of the Moseten indigenous people. The Moseten TCO (from its Spanish acronym for "Tierra Comunitario de Origen) just has a different feel. I remember it from the first time I visited here almost three years ago. I barely spoke Spanish, but the moment I set foot in the first Moseten community, I felt something different from all of the other towns around here. It had to do with a different pace of life, with a sense of economy that is adapted to their surroundings. But I couldn't know that at that point. It just felt like a community of people who were at peace in their environment and surroundings.

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