Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Juarez Reflection: An Ink Blotch

As the steam rises from a boiling pot of the sweet milky drink in this Mexican school kitchen, an elderly lady the people call Herman Santa (or “The Holy Sister”) meshes the corn flour mixture with her moist hands, preparing the gorditas for lunch that day. She hums a Spanish love song to herself in the absence of a radio, and the other women buzz languidly about the kitchen, setting their stations for the hordes of kids that would soon bombard the cafeteria for lunch. The smell of cooking meat, the heat of the propane powered stoves, and the chattering women give way to a feeling of normalcy and rightness as the morning overtakes this simple block and concrete lunch room.

A small cat passes by the barred window that allows the early morning light to stream through, and as it peers into the kitchen with its tail flicking from side to side; a sense of calm presides over the kitchen like a cosmic blanket settling lightly on fresh sheets. Then, its head jerks suddenly hissing as it turns to flee, and a flock of pigeons take flight agitatedly. The harsh whip of a military helicopter, with its high caliber rifle manned and at the ready, blows pass the school and its surrounding neighborhood darkening the room as its turbine wings wheel through the air daunting and low– circling and circling.

While I sit quietly cleaning the dishes and hoping for the return of day, my mind can’t escape the image of a grand and masterful painting with an ink blotch on it.

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