Monday, July 15, 2013
Drums of Thunder
Like so many in my generation, during the eighties some of us began a process of taking off the mask. We no longer deny that we are Garinagu today. The question that provokes my curiosity is: What kind of Garinagu are we Being?
On July 9th I came across a photo on Twitter; it was a picture of the monument [Drums of Our Fathers]. Last year while I was in Dangriga for Garífuna Day in November 2012, I took the opportunity to take a photo of an “image” of something so majestic. From my point of view it is a symbol worthy of respect for the Garífuna people all around the world.
First I would like to begin with my track record. I became a “father” before the age of eighteen and now I am fifty one and so far I have three boys. I am ready to admit that I have two strikes against me when it comes down to being a Garífuna father. Today I am the father of a nine year old who is creating an image of himself.
In this case, I remember being a nine year old Garífuna boy living in Dangriga, Belize in the seventies. I went as far as feeling shame when my grandmother would speak to me in Garífuna when I was among my friends. During the seventies even “some” Garífuna teachers were hiding behind a mask. On the other hand I would not say the same about teachers like Mr. C. Lewis from Hopkins. He was my fifth grade teacher, and was the first person who spoke to me in Garífuna; while I was in elementary school.
A couple days ago, I was watching a report on YouTube about Garífuna- “A culture close to extinction”. In a few days we could be watching the screening of a film by the name of Garífuna in Peril. The objective of their trip to Labuga is to share with us the same message they have manage to share with other Garífuna communities beyond borders.
August 16th 1997 will be a date that I will remember for the remaining days of my life. Many of us in the Garífuna community became aware that we have been around for two hundred years in Central America; well; by now you should know that I have no shame in my game. It was then that I promised my son Anthony in San Diego California, that I would do my best to document the journey, well; here we are today.
Today many of us are aware of the everyday reality in our Garífuna communities in Central America. Today Nicaragua is a case and point; while I was in Honduras in October of 2012, I experienced the sacrifice that our brothers and sisters from Nicaragua are doing. Our brothers and sisters in Honduras and Nicaragua have an exchange program going on. Children from Nicaragua would live in Garífuna communities in Honduras where our native language is a daily thing.
On the other hand many of us are falling asleep on the wheels; this is where I would like for Drums of Thunder to play a role. Here is something I want to share with you today; “Mon. 15/7/13- It is 4:47 in the morning and just got through reading this, “Day 40-15/5/13- It is 5:06 this morning and just got through praying. I am ending this day with humbling myself before the Almighty and the Spirits of the Áhari. Thanking them in advance for being there.
Seremein lun Sunti Gabafu, thanks to the Almighty, he has allowed us to reach this far, and I hope you have learned as much as I learned about the person I would like to become. The story of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days means something different to me today than what it meant forty days ago.
In this case, I will share with you something personal, something that every one of us should feel about being a Garífuna. I am identifying with the wilderness our fore-fathers went through when they were being exiled from our homeland. I would like for you to know that I am just trying to be the best person I can be.
Therefore I am aware that I have to continue.