1.01 – Azúcar

Keyla Sepúlveda Ramos

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  TECHNICOLOR WASTELAND – Here, every month is cruel. Sugar cane fields forgotten, like scenes of a movie past. A Technicolor wasteland. To an outsider it might look like paradise, To me, nothing new worth seeing. Anger and pain triggered the change, destroying the dream of how great it had been. The sugarcane started the fire. As if nature became a weapon, against itself. Creeping through the wind, I saw soft yellows and dark reds. Sun setting closely upon leaves, hot to the touch and painful to the heart. Sundown through the eneas, waving goodbye. The fire took it all. Hopes. Dreams. Friends. The filmstrip has burned. That’s what happens after excessive playing, again and again. Ashes in the wind for weeks, Choking tears. Then, regrets disappear, the...

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Samuel Morales Cotto

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  SITUATION: THE LIFE OF DON MORALES – Poor Foolish old mama, don’t you understand that is the way of life? Yesterday I cried for one, so today I must laugh for another. Luigi Pirandello – Photographs tell a story by freezing the moment; the gestures, the feelings and all that forms the present and transforms the future; something that one can see, like a yesterday in a tomorrow. Two pictures. No ages. A different hat and background. The same attitude. The same posture. I didn’t know my grandfather, no one did. But I did know that he grew up like arid terrain, with landmarks so deep and so empty that even he lost some of their stories. He was born in 1901. When he was three-months-old, his father died and with him went the house, the land,...

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Solmarie Pérez Velázquez

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  MEREJO – 1. 1944 Hermenejildo “Merejo” Pérez woke up and ran to the bakery. It was yet another day he had to find money to live. He was an orphan, or at least that is what it seemed. But now, he was ten-years-old and could fend for himself, he thought as he handed the baker ten cents for a bag of peanuts. He also bought a newspaper to wrap the peanuts in. Then the tall, lanky boy sat outside the bakery and began wrapping peanuts inside the newspaper. He had to hurry if he wanted to catch the morning traffic. Once finished, he walked to the semáforo to set up. “Peanuts for five cents. Great roasted peanuts for five cents!” he screamed hoping to sell at least a dollar’s worth. At half past noon he finally decided to leave. He had made seventy cents....

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Mariana L. Arroyo Ortega

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ENRIQUE – “Right here, where you are standing, there was an enormous field full of pineapples. My father, my brothers and I used to work near these fields. None of the houses were here, just pineapples, trees, and cow poop,” says my grandfather sweeping his arm through the air for emphasis. The landscape he describes is so different from the concrete horizon before us. The street is now filled with houses, doctors’ offices, small commerce, and a police station. Sure, there are still cows, but nothing as real and dramatic as he describes. 1. Enrique’s Shoes In 1937, Enrique’s family had worked for the Hacienda for many generations. Enrique was small and lanky and only eight-years-old, but old enough to work the sugar cane fields with his father during...

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Glorimar Ramos Yunqué

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  SEWING HOPE – The woman in the picture is my great-grandmother, Epifania Zoto. We call her Abuela Pita for short. Next to her, is her mother’s sewing machine. The story behind this family relic takes us back to the late 1920s. María Monserrate Pérez was my great-grandmother’s mother. She was married to Ignacio Zoto. They all lived on the lands of Don Manolo Rivera, and worked for him. Ignacio would wake up around 4:00 a.m. to work as a jornalero (day laborer) on the sugar plantations. After work, he brought home an empty sack he always carried with him. During his short breaks, on the hot summer days, he looked for food he placed in his empty sack.  This was how he assured that his family would eat, at least one meal every day. The crash of the New...

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