The woman I became profusely refuses to go back in time to the child she abandoned running lose and free in the fields of The Farm.
It would take twenty years to face that child again and on that day as I stood under the Jamboeiro, luxuriant, larger than I ever remembered, the Charila still hanging waiting for my father gathering call, I cried. I fell onto the ground and I cried twenty years of tears silenced in my defiance against all we went through in what was supposed to be the land of my parents.
But this, here, as far as my eyes could reach is the land of my parents, nowhere else in this world. This is where we all begin, freed from the heaviness of traditions that are meaningless to girls that grow free in the crop fields, running barefoot feeling the mud squeezing between the toes, dancing under the irrigation systems until we are drenched to the bones and then dry up running with the dogs under the African heat of beautiful childhood days.
Our heritage is not the forgotten, insignificant and mouldy stories of those that went before us and mean nothing, did nothing for us.
Our heritage is this, the memory of sitting right in the middle of the herd of cows, playing a portable radio and in absolute amazement watch our cows slowly gather around us to listen to classical music, whilst our mother panics that we will be trampled by a sudden stampede.
It is all gone. And the world no longer allows the understanding of this heritage. Our children listen to these stories as if we are talking about an imaginary land that can only exist in fairy-tales, unable to grasp and comprehend the depth of that freedom, the true “lightness of being”.