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jeudi 4 décembre 2008

Among the UmOnHoN people

   with a Macussi Indian Child in Southern Guyana
   The world Chocolate  is an Indian word..Aztec Xocalatl
The journey to the Indians is always arduous.. first of all there is the trip to the USA.. My flight from Paris had to take a detour over Spain and Portugal and Azores and then go north to Boston and come down to New York, adding two hours to the trip. ( I am sure there was bad weather along the northern, more usual route from Europe). The flight was near empty and the journey was monotonous. I tried to read ( Tim Parks: Dreams of Rivers and Seas, it so happens it is a about an anthropologist but set in India), but couldnt concentrate, the food was just average.. even though the Air France Lounge at CDG had Moet and Chandon... a good start to the journey. The arrival at New York Airport was civil and without pain. The long wait, the night already dropping before 6 pm and the intense darkness through which yet another three hours of journey to a town where the temperature on arrival was MINUS 6 degrees Centigrade.. past midnight.. nearly a day to get here..Checking into the hotel, I ask myself.. why? and on waking up, I realize that I am going to the Indian country and there would be so much joy and contentment waiting for me and not to mention laughter and genuine affections.. My association with American Indians have been one of the best gifts in this life for me.. Thank the Spirits.. 
Next morning, reminded that I am in America, Food is a problem, stock up on some organic food for the few days I am in this country. Huge Car at the Rent A Car, they are being kind by giving me a huge car, I ask for a downgrade, but i need a car with a radio so that i can listen to BBC radio while driving up north to the Indian reservation.
The time goes quickly, the road is straight and without much to look at. The trees are bare of their leaves.  BBC World Service.. and The Economist.. you can keep yourself informed.  Not even the NPR, which is the best of the lot available in the USA can hold a candle to BBC or the Economist when it comes to its coverage.. Just different tunes I suppose..
The item on BBC world news said that by all reckoning Somalia is the most undernourished country on this planet, a pathetic honour. The world focuses on Pirates on the Gulf of Aden, but one hundred thousand Somali are at risk of perishing. No food, Little Rain, Poverty making them eat the animals they need to survive..War lords and no law of the land..
Just one blink, my mind goes back to Seattle where I was less than one month ago.. one of the common sites at the Seattle Tacoma Airport is the number of Somali people working ( another airport where their presence is felt is Minneapolis).. but these somalis are far away from the borders of malnutrition.. malnourished indeed but all were obese or overweight.. what is the lesson? a people who have undergone undernourishment and a mechanism to protect themselves during the times of famine, have no protection in the land of plenty.. I was told by a professor from University of Washington that Somalis have the highest rate of obesity, Diabetes and hypercholesterolemia among the migrants of that part of the world.. Poor Somalis.. so much suffering , whether in the Horn of Africa or Seattle.. 
That made me think, all non european people who have undergone some form of mass extermination: American Indians, Somalis, Cambodians.. when they are resettled in one form of another.. the degenerative diseases of the Europeans descend upon them.. High Cholesterol, Obesity, Diabetes.. There has to be a relationship to the Trauma!  but how to find out its contribution? at least it would give us a way to attend to those people who have suffered the trauma, now have additional physical and emotional burdens of western diseases...
Tomorrow at the Clinic of the American Indians, one after another of the patients would come, with cheerful faces, hearty smiles and wonderful stories.. It is difficult to imagine the difficult life they lead in their own land, now disposessed and disenfranchised.. descendants of another genocide by the European arrivals less than three hundred years ago.. 
Time to go to bed and be fresh for the Indian patients...Just to spoil them, not the milk chocolates of the usa or uk, but Le Roux from  Quiberon, the best chocolatier in France.. a little bite..