Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New School Photos


Jean-Alexandre - 11 1/2 years

Dominic - 7 years

Maryssa - 5 1/2 years

These were taken in early October.

And here, why not one of Gabriel and Toby too... this one was taken in mid-November


Toby - 1 1/2 years and Gabriel - 3 years (wearing the Dora and Boots shirt I made for his birthday) (Dominic is also wearing a shirt I made, I originally made it for Jean-Alexandre, who at the time really liked wild African animals, and chose that material himself.)

It's the First week of Advent!!!

















Are you ready for Advent?!!!

This is our Advent wreath. (With one candle burning, you see?) I have also decorated the entrance with (fake) evergreen boughs (twisted around the bannister of the stairs) and pink and purple ribbons. The wreath has some extra "greenery" stuck into it, (with the silver tips) which makes it look even nicer, so I want to go and get something from the dollar store maybe to put in the entranceway too. The only flower/greenery stuff I have is really christmassy with a lot of red in it. I want to try to stay away from red as much as possible until Christmas. We have our manger scene set up on the piano as well (minus baby Jesus of course).
Our stockings have been hung by the fire to be filled up during the whole time of advent. I want to try to do some more crafts with the kids than I have in the past, so they can fill up each others' stockings. I wonder what kind of easy craft I could do with Gabriel? He's only three.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I Abolish...

http://ga0.org/campaign/khadama/i8dwx82h5i3bi8?

On November 6, a 14-year-old girl named Khadama was rescued from slavery in the African country of Mauritania. But less than 12 hours after she reported her physical abuse to authorities, police returned her to her owner, who wasn't even questioned.

To make matters worse, Khadama's 12-year old niece M'barka was arrested and imprisioned by the Mauritanian police. M'barka, also held as a slave and impregnated after being raped by her slave holder's nephew, is being held for "sexual misconduct," while the nephew is free to go without questioning.

I Abolish - The Anti-Slavery Portal

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Map of the lost Island


I have created a partial map of what I have explored so far on this island. I have not gone much farther than this, so I do not know what the other side of the island looks like, just enough to know that it is an island.

Stick-Paul


I went past the monkeys the other day and decided to explore a bit up above where the cliffs start to form again. I was walking through the trees, and suddenly came to where there was a circle of bare earth under the trees. It must have been a meter and a half in diameter or so, and no vegetation grew in it at all.

I thought that was a little strange and walked around the circle a bit and then stepped into it. I looked up through the tops of the trees at the blue sky overhead. Birds sang, insects hummed, a butterfly fluttered past. I stepped out of the circle and suddenly, I was no longer on my island.

Like a ghost stepping through a wall, in an instant I found myself in the presence of a black and white, two-dimensional stick man.

Stick-Paul comes from a two-dimensional universe and has been visiting our three-dimensional universe. Stick-Paul is a poet who has a way with words I can only envy and not hope to emulate. His manager is somewhat aloof, but actually quite sympathetic.

I realized that the circle of barren earth on my island must be a
portal to Stick-Paul's universe. After reading a bit of Stick-Paul's poetry and something on travel between universes of different dimensions, I was pulled back through the portal onto my own island. This particular portal seems to have a time limit. I believe I shall go through again, some other time and visit some more.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Gynies... (see eyes roll)

Well, I have just taken myself right back off the synthroid, because the more research I did, the wierder I thought it was that they had even put me on it, since I had no real symptoms except for a bit of fatigue which could be easily explained away by many other factors (such as Marc coming home at 2:30 in the morning from work, waking me up and me not getting back to sleep right away, but still having to get up at 6:30 to get the kids off to school.), not to mention the fact that I AM pregnant after all!

Not only had I no symptoms, I was still within the normal range. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is secreted by the body to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, the level will go up if your thyroid is not producing enough. The level of TSH can be measured in the blood when they do a blood test. They do routine testing of all pregnant women here. (Was never tested before.) Anywhere from a .2 to a 5.5 can be normal for a person. I didn't know what my level was at first, although the gynecologist said it wasn't a big deal but that they gave synthroid to anyone who had over a 3. (That was before I knew that 3 was well within the normal range). Anyway, a friend who has hypothyroidism asked me what my level was and since I was starting to get curious about the same thing, I asked the gynecologist and was told it was 3.78. Well, according to my friend's chart, that is well within the normal range especially for a woman in her third trimester of pregnancy! Have been talking with a number of other people as well, including my parents and my sister, and they all think taking extra hormones when I don't need them is probably risking actually putting my thyroid out of wack for real. Then Rose Anne talked with a friend of hers on the weekend who also has hypothryroidism, and get this, when she was diagnosed, she was at 97!!! I am at 3.78! That really puts things into perspective! Anyway, as of Friday morning, I haven't been taking anything anymore. And I really don't think that's going to harm the baby at all.

I also called my old doctor back in Prince George (I respect and trust him), to see what he would think. When I called, he wasn't in, and won't be in until this afternoon, but the recptionist siad she would ask him about it, and I should call back tommorrow morning. But even she made the comment "Should you even be taking this stuff?"

Oh, and gynies can go to you know where...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ahhh, les hommes...

For English Translation, See Below:

Une conversation typique avec Marc:

Jeanne: Est-ce qu'on a encore le poêle de camping?
Marc: Pourquoi? La sage-femme en a de besoin?
Jeanne: oui, en cas de panne d'électricité, la sage-femme a besoin d'avoir un moyen pour faire bouillir de l'eau. Alors il faut avoir le poêle de camping (qui fonctionne) à porté de main. Ce qu'on a j'imagine que ça doit faire l'affaire?
Marc: Bien non. il est au charbon. Il y a le BBQ.
Jeanne: Wow, et on va rentrer le barbeque à la maison?
Marc: Je ne crois pas non.
Jeanne: Ça prend une chambre à coucher non-encombrée aussi... Elle dit que ça lui prend un bureau ou une table libre pour mettre les affaires si elles en ont besoin, ou pour travailler avec le bébé dessus... etc...
Marc: de notre chambre...
Jeanne: oui.
Marc: Notre lit sera tout sale après.
Jeanne: Elle m'a donné une liste de choses à faire ou à acheter pour préparer la maison et le lit. Dont des choses à faire pour imperméabiliser le lit...
Marc: yacki
Jeanne: Dès le début du travail, on change le lit, on mets des draps propres et par dessus ça un plastique, un couvre-matelas plastifié ou un rideau de douche, et par dessus ça, un vieux drap qu'on fix bien fermement avec beaucoup d'épingles.
Marc: Pis on t'attache dessus, pour ne pas que tu salisses partout.
Jeanne: Quand elle m'a demandé il y a deux semaines qu'est-ce que tu pensais de ça, accoucher à la maison, j'ai dit que tu as fait une face comme pour dire "ouach ça va faire des dégâts" et elle a dit "ahh, les hommes, ils ont bien peur de ça... ils ne sont pas habitués à ça, eux, avoir des menstruations et voir du sang partout..."
Marc: ...et tant mieux.
Jeanne: Elle m'a dit que tu ne devrais pas te préoccuper, elles vont s'occuper de faire le ménage après, puis de toute façon, ce n'est pas si pire que tout ça... Rose Anne a offert de prendre du temps pour venir nous aider.
Marc: Ça lui tentera beaucoup d'avoir des enfants après t'avoir entendu dire "Pourquoi?!" et "C'est le dernier!"
Jeanne: Je ne suis pas si pire que ça à l'accouchement, on entend des cauchemars bien pire que cela, tu es toujours chanceux que je ne t'aie jamais foutu une claque dans la face ni rien du genre...
Marc: Ah tu y as pensé alors
Jeanne: Penser à le faire? Non, jamais.
Marc: Sûrement.
Jeanne: Je n'ai même jamais eu l'envie, je ne sais pas ce qui leur prend à ces femmes-là,... elles s'énèrvent plus que moi. Tu n'as pas grand chose à craindre de moi... La sage-femme va pouvoir te rassurer, pauvre homme.
Marc: J'imagine. Lui as-tu dit que c'est nous qui souffrons le plus?
Jeanne: Tu le lui diras, pour voir...
Marc: Elle ne me croira pas et pourtant...
Jeanne: Oui, ça doit surement te faire très souffrir, j'ai vu les séquelles de traumatisme moi-même...
Marc: Ah tu vois...

Translation:

Jeanne: Do we still have the camping stove?
Marc: Why? The mid-wife needs it?
Jeanne: Yes, in case of a blackout, the mid-wife needs to be able to boil water. So we need a camp stove that works, close at hand. I imagine what we have would work?
Marc: Well, no. It works with coal. There's always the BBQ.
Jeanne: Wow, and we're going to bring the barbeque into the house?
Marc: I don't think so, no.
Jeanne: We need an un-cluttered room too... And she said she needs a small table or bureau cleared off to put things on or to work with the baby if she needs to... etc....
Marc: In our room...
Jeanne: Yes.
Marc: Our bed will be all dirty after.
Jeanne: She gave me a list of things to do or to buy to prepare the house and the bed. Among others, things to do to waterproof the bed...
Marc: Yucky.
Jeanne: As soon as labour starts, we change the sheets, we put clean ones and over that, some plastic, either a water-proof mattress cover, or a shower curtain or something else, and over that, an old sheet which we fix firmly into place with a lot of pins.
Marc: And we tie you on top of it all, so you don't get everything all dirty everywhere.
Jeanne: When she asked me two weeks ago what you thought of me giving birth at home, I said you made a face that pretty much meant: "Yuck! It'll get things all dirty!" and she said "ahh, men, they're so scared of that, they aren't used to menstruations and seeing a bit of blood..."
Marc: ...and it's just as well.
Jeanne: She said that you shouldn't worry, they'll be cleaning up after, and anyway, it isn't so bad... My sister offered to take some time off to come and help us.
Marc: She'll really want to have children after hearing you say "Why?!" and "It's the last one!!"
Jeanne: I'm not that bad when I'm in labour, one hears worse nightmares than that, you can count yourself lucky that I've never hit you in the face or anything of the kind...
Marc: Ah so you've thought about it.
Jeanne: About doing it? No, never.
Marc: Right.
Jeanne: I've never even felt like it, I'm not sure why these women do that, they get more worked up than I do... You don't have much to fear from me... The mid-wife will reassure you, poor man.
Marc: I imagine. Did you tell her that we are the ones who suffer the most?
Jeanne: You can tell her, and we'll see...
Marc: She won't believe me, and yet...
Jeanne: Yes, it must really make you suffer, I have seen the effects of traumatism myself...
Marc: Ah you see...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Of meditation (from Juana la Cubana)

I have built a tiny chapel in the woods. A quiet place to meditate.

I face the east and pray. Noone interupts me. I sit and meditate. Noone cares because their plans are interupted by my insistance on spending time with God. At some point in my life I became blind to consequences. I chose to ignore obvious outcomes of my decisions. I suffered for it later. Here I purge that suffering.

I have built my chapel on the side of the sleeping volcano, but only a few paces up. I have yet to explore the top of this mountain. Perhaps some day I will fly with the birds up there?

A few minutes restores me, refreshes me. I must go more often.

Less than a month to go...

There is just something about taking tiny little clothes out of boxes, washing them, and folding them into neat piles to be put away once again, into drawers, awaiting use. (sighhhhh) One forgets how cute tiny clothes can be...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A woman of value

Went to see some old friends of Marc's yesterday evening. I had never met them yet, but Marc knew them at least 13 years ago. They are both polish. We had a good time (and Maryssa wanted to go back this morning, and Dominic wanted to stay the night last night).

It was so nice, because at one point A. was saying how hard it is to find a woman these days (especially a young woman) who is willing to have five children with you, and basically saying that I was a lucky find for Marc, that he had such a beautiful family, that he was rich that way, that such a woman, (one open to having that many children) was a woman of value, etc, etc. How nice to hear!!!

What was even nicer was that there was no opinion offered on how many children we should have, when we should stop, or if we should stop or keep on going, etc.... I hate it when people come out and tell me "I hope this is your last one!" I feel slightly uncomfortable when people get all surprised and say how "courageous" I am, because underneath that, there is always a kind of undertone meaning how "crazy" I am as well. I also realize that I really do not like being told, "I hope this isn't your last one" either. And I have gotten this from the more traditional, conservative Catholic side of my friends and family. How many children I have is none of anyone's business. If Marc and I decide NOT to try for more children, because there is no more room in the mini-van, and we don't know where we'd fit another bed into our house, etc, etc, that is none of anyone's business. We don't even know where we are going to fit this new one in the house once he/she and Gabriel get too old for toddler beds/cribs! If we DID decide to have one anyway, (highly unlikely) or if another one came "by accident" then that is ALSO none of anyone's business.

This all reminds me of today's first reading: (smile)

Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Generosity (from Juana la Cubana)

I arrived at my hut yesterday, after a long walk on the beach, with a few fish in one hand and a bunch of bananas in the other, to find El Alejandro sitting on the crude bench in front of my door with a smug smile on his face.

It appears that El Alejandro noticed all the cracks in my walls and set about filling them all in. He also fixed the roof while he was at it. The result is a stauncher, more esthetically pleasing wall. I was very happy. It is so nice to come across true generosity in this world, pure and free, nothing expected in return.

I invited him to supper of course and we talked of greek mythology and Jane Goodall while I prepared the fish.

Today is a bit cooler, with strong winds rolling in off the ocean. I close my eyes as I sit on the bench in front of my hut and enjoy the caress of the wind on my face. It has been so long since anyone caressed my face or played with my hair. I enjoy the wind even more knowing that if I want to escape it, it will no longer venture into my hut.

I have also taken precautions against the monkeys. I am in the process of finding ways to keep them out of my things, should they manage to get into the hut again.

Friday, November 11, 2005

La Sagesse

Livre de la Sagesse 13,1-9.

Ils sont foncièrement insensés, tous ces hommes qui en sont venus à ignorer Dieu : à partir de ce qu'ils voient de bon, ils n'ont pas été capables de connaître Celui qui est ; en examinant ses oeuvres, ils n'ont pas reconnu l'Artisan. Mais c'est le feu, le vent, la brise légère, la ronde des étoiles, la violence des flots, les luminaires du ciel, gouverneurs du monde, qu'ils ont regardés comme des dieux. S'ils les ont pris pour des dieux à cause de la beauté qui les a charmés, ils doivent savoir combien le Maître de ces choses leur est supérieur, car l'Auteur même de la beauté est leur créateur. Et s'ils les ont pris pour des dieux à cause de la puissance et de l'efficacité qui les ont frappés, ils doivent comprendre à partir de ces choses combien Celui qui les a faites est plus puissant. Car la grandeur et la beauté des créatures font, par analogie, découvrir leur Auteur. Et pourtant, ces hommes ne méritent qu'un blâme léger ; car ils ne s'égarent peut-être qu'en cherchant Dieu avec le désir de le trouver : ils poursuivent leur recherche en étant plongés au milieu de ses oeuvres, et ils se laissent prendre aux apparences, car ce qui s'offre à leurs yeux est si beau ! Encore une fois, pourtant, ils ne sont pas excusables. S'ils ont poussé la science à un degré tel qu'ils sont capables d'avoir une idée sur le cours éternel des choses, comment n'ont-ils pas découvert plus vite Celui qui en est le Maître ?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hypothyroidism

Although the doctor didn't actually tell me I had this, one of the girls on Mothering with Grace who has it and was prescribed the same thing as me, told me this is what it was. Hypothyroidism is a slowing down of the thyroid gland. (It doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone anymore). This seems to be a mostly irreversible ailment, although I am still hoping.

Some of the symptoms include:

- Fatigue
- Weakness
- Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
- Coarse, dry hair
- Dry, rough pale skin
- Hair loss
- Cold intolerance (can't tolerate the cold like those around you)
- Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
- Constipation
- Depression
- Irritability
- Memory loss
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Decreased libido

I don't know when this might have happened, but I suppose it might be with this pregnancy? I am still hoping that it might just be a pregnancy induced thing like gestational diabetes or something, but I haven't found anything on that, so I don't know. Mostly I have just been somewhat tired, but not all the time. I was more tired than usual at the beginning of the pregnancy, but that is normal! I didn't notice anthing out of the ordinary. It did get really hot here this summer and the heat combined with the pregnancy gave me insomnia (which is another symptom but not in the list above), but I just figured that it had to do with the heat because as soon as it got cooler again, I had no more problems. Lately I've been tired again, but I am sure that has more to do with Marc's working so late and coming home in the wee hours. I might be in bed, but it does wake me up when he comes home and then sometimes I have a hard time getting back to sleep again. Except for being tired, I haven't had any of the other symptoms except increased irritability when I'm tired, which would be due to the fatigue of course... Headaches were also mentioned as a symptom, and I did get a lot of those especially this summer, but I almost always get headaches when I'm tired. So again, that would be a symptom of the fatigue.

Apparently, according to the gynecologist, my thyroid gland isn't that far from normal, but has just slowed down a little. So I am guessing that it only contributed slightly to the fatigue, and that, were I not pregnant, I wouldn't even notice. Apparently, some people with hypothyroidism do not have symptoms and don't even know they have it. That must be me, because I'd never have guessed. I keep reading about the hormone supplement making you feel better, and I keep thinking, "But better compared to what? I felt fine!" Unless it happened so gradually that what feels "fine" to me now isn't?

Anyway, apparently it takes at least two weeks for a person to get back to "normal", so in a week and a half, I'll let everyone know if anything has changed.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The New Religion of Medicine

Was reading through a web site yesterday, written by a girl who is a bit too new-agey for my taste, but never-the-less comes up with some very good points, (if you overlook the new-aginess).

It is all about us as women being quite capable of giving birth by ourselves and being able to trust our own bodies if we are left alone to do so, and are not afraid to trust them. Of course, part of that is being informed about our bodies as well, but part of it is also acting on instinct. Instinct can often be a good thing.

Part of the site is this article on Pregnancy and the New religion of Medicine, which I thought rather interesting. Basically she says that any person who does not partake in this new religion, (consulting "their doctors before they do anything... from taking a walk around the block to putting their children to bed at night") is ridiculed, harassed and even threatened with legal action.
Pregnant women are expected to go to doctors for prenatal care. They are told they are reckless and are endangering the lives of their babies if they don't. However, doctors treat pregnancy as a disease rather than a natural function of a woman's body, which it is. (...) But there is now a growing movement of women who are choosing (...) to do their own prenatal care and birth their own babies, alone. They do this out of a deep concern for the safety and well-being of their unborn children, and should not be considered reckless or negligent. They should be applauded for being brave enough to go against a system which is in many cases the cause of not only miserable birth experiences, but birth trauma which follows them and their children for life.
That pretty much sums up what the article is about, but she makes an extremely good point very much worth mentioning here:
We live in a day and age when women are allowed to exercise control over their own bodies. If they want to terminate a pregnancy (i.e. dismember a baby and suck it out through a vacuum extractor) they are allowed to do this. However, if a mother wants to deliver her own baby by the method of her choice because she believes it is safer, there are those who would like to deny her this right, to say that she is negligent. If this is the case, why don't we call her negligent when she has an abortion? The answer is, because doctors profit from and are in control of the abortion procedure. In an unassisted childbirth, no one profits, no one is in control except the mother. So the question is, do we really believe in women's rights?
Doctors profit from and are in control of the abortion procedure. Now there's a subject I could warm up to. Why do abortion clinics even exist? Because they are making money and to do so they lie to mothers to make them believe there is nothing wrong with it. If those mothers were faced with the whole truth of abortion, most of them would opt out. It would take a pretty cold-blooded person to willingly, knowingly permit her child to be cruelly aborted. The thing is, they don't know. Abortion clinics are supposedly un-biased when it comes to "councelling" troubled mothers, but a councellor who has a history of too many women deciding not to go through with an abortion is fired. Abortionists are in it for the money. (Or really mis-led) They don't care about the mothers or the babies. They have numbed themselves to reality, the reality that they are indeed taking the lives of innocent children.

I like what the feminists for life site has to say about abortion. Abortion isn't liberating women. It isn't about giving women rights. Instead of promoting abortion as the only solution, we need to be working on better options to abortion. We need to make it easier for women to be working (or studying) mothers, (those who need or want to work): easier acces to child-care, more flexible hours, possibility of working from home, etc, etc,... we need to avoid making women feel ostrecized for being pregnant at a bad time. In short, we need to stop making women feel that being pregnant makes them out of wack with society and that the only solution is to terminate the pregnancy, as if it never happened. (which, I believe, in most cases is impossible to achieve, because it is rarely "as if it never happened" and most mothers will at least wonder about how their child might have been, and many become traumatised, as they wake up to the reality of what has happened.)

A quote from Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life:
Sarah Weddington argued Roe vs. Wade in part that a woman could not possibly complete her college education if she were pregnant. Why can't she? Women aren't suddenly stupid because they are pregnant! Women can still read, write and think.
We refuse to choose between our education and career plans and sacrificing our children. All people are equal. All choices are not. Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. Women deserve better than abortion.
Oh, definitely. Women deserve better than abortion.

Edited to add: Oh, and by the way, just to make a point, I happen to be one of those women who continued to attend university, for two whole semesters while pregnant (delivered at the end of the second semester), took the summer off and the fall semester as well to be with the baby and then went on to finish not only her bachelor but an extra certificate as well. (All this as a single mother,... although I did meet my husband to be when Jean-Alexandre was a year old. By that time, I'd finished at least one semester at university as a single mother.) My cousin S. and her husband decided to have a child while she was still studying at university. She endured looks from fellow students that blatantly meant they thought she was soooo stupid for doing so but continued on as well. (Thankfully, although in Québec people aren't open to having a lot of children, they do seem to be open to having them whenever... I never got any looks.) Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, my grades did not suffer, thank you very much. (In fact, as I matured and as my grasp of the French language continued to be perfected, they even got better.)

Pregnancy update 2

Went to see the gynecologist this morning and the blood tests I took last week had come back. Everything was fine except that one indicated my thyroid gland was functioning a little off. So she prescribed medication to keep it under control. I would have prefered to just eat kelp or something instead, but even the health food lady prefered me to go with the gynecologist since I was pregnant. So starting tommorrow morning, I have one pill a day to eat.

Now that I think of it, I DO have a sore throat, although I had thought that it was just due to the slight cold I had a couple of weeks ago. The lady at the health food store also asked me if I had been more tired than usual and I said yes. In the last week, when evening comes around, I am QUITE ready to go to bed. Apparently this is another symptom. I didn't know.

I also LOST a few grams since last week, which surprised me, because at about this time one gains a lot more quickly than at the beginning of a pregnancy, (about a pound a week). But I didn't lose enough to be worried about it.

Other than that, everything is just fine. The baby's heart is beating well. She did a streptocoli-something sample, to test for that, and did the gynecological examination, the cervix is still well-closed apparently. (Which should be a good indication that I'm not exactly ready to give birth anytime soon). I can feel the baby pushing down on that now from time to time, and his/her head is definitely right there in position, so I expect some effacement of the cervix to happen in the coming weeks.

Marc should have some news of insurance soon, so we'll be able to see if it covers the midwife/naturopath's services. I am praying that it does. This whole clinic of gynecologists and obstetricians doesn't seem very open to letting things go too naturally. Ahhh, the religion of medicine. Which reminds me of something else I want to post about. Which I will do in the next (above) post.

That Song

That Song

That song is playing on the radio again,
The one that makes me think of you.
Driving with the windows wide open,
Eating dust to avoid the heat.
The air was heavy with the scent of flowers,
My hair got tangled in the wind.
You played that song again and again,
'Til I wondered; will the tape last long?

Here I sit in my air-conditioned car,
My hair combed just right, no dust in sight,
No flowers either, just that song,
The one that makes me think of you.

The belly


Here's my belly.

Ok, so it's taken from the front, and you can barely even tell I'm pregnant except for the slight roundness,... (well compared to reality anyway, I guess you can tell after all.) Maybe it's the semi-psychedelic shirt doing some optical illusion? But imagine I'm turning around now. My belly actually protudes a good 8 inches past where my waist would normally be. Maybe I should take one from the side now? Naaah, better to have you all think that I just have a small belly and that I'm likely to find my regular shape within days of giving birth. (Wink, wink.) (And the chances of that happening are?...)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Some mornings are just worse than others

LAS LIGAS AGRARIAS CRISTIANAS Y LA BARBARIE STRONISTA (3)

La muerte atroz de Silvano Flores, a manos de "Sapriza" y "Kururu Pire"
Del Diario ABC Color, Asunción, Paraguay

Silvano Flores fue degollado frente a sus hijos. La "hazaña" fue ejecutada por dos de las estrellas de Investigaciones: Camilo Almada Morel, alias "Sapriza" y Lucilo Benítez, alias "Kururu pire". Estuvieron acompañados de una decena de hombres de igual naturaleza. Fue en abril de 1976. El stronismo se propuso entonces acabar con las Ligas Agrarias Cristianas y con cualquier otro intento de promoción social que no estuviera bajo su mando. La viuda y los hijos de Flores, a igual que los otros expositores, contaron una parte de lo que Stroessner era capaz de hacer.

La comunidad de Santa Rosa y todas las demás donde activaban las Ligas Agrarias Cristianas conocieron sobradamente a Silvano Flores por su entrega a la organización. Se dedicaba a la plantación de arroz y de otros productos para la venta y el consumo familiar. Disponía de un tractor que la mayor de las veces estaba al servicio de sus compañeros. Demostraba que la solidaridad es tal solo cuando se la practica. Tenía el convencimiento de que las Ligas eran la mejor opción para que los agricultores encontrasen el bienestar material y espiritual dentro de las limitaciones que supone trabajar unas tierras pobres y reducidas. Pero en otra circunstancia, demostrada por una antigua experiencia, no había ninguna posibilidad de mejorar la suerte, de enderezar el futuro.Trabajar juntos, unir las tierras para hacerlas extensas, buscar mejores precios para la venta y para la compra de los productos, tener escuelas donde los hijos aprendan otros valores que los inculcados por la dictadura, levantar capillas para escuchar la palabra de Dios, reunirse en torno a un tereré y debatir acerca de las cuestiones que hacen a la comunidad, la región, el país, eran algunos de los tópicos que entusiasmaban a Silvano Flores y a otros dirigentes de las Ligas. Todo funcionaba sin contratiempos. Se podía esperar que el proyecto se realizara en otros más ambiciosos. Nadie esperaba enriquecerse con el trabajo agrícola. La ambición iba por otro camino. Deseaban amanecer sin las necesidades angustiosas que acompañan la pobreza: el hambre, la falta de medicamentos, de educación. Por distanciarse los unos de los otros, viven en el desafecto, se miran de reojo y hasta se cavan abismos. Las Ligas eran la mejor alternativa para la superación, la unidad, la fuerza creadora.

El proyecto comenzó a resquebrajarse cuando aparecieron la codicia de manos de los almaceneros, de los acopiadores, y la obsecuencia de los políticos que sabían qué cuerda templar para agradar los oídos del dictador. Primero, fue el rumor de que los miembros de las Ligas Agrarias querían acabar con los almacenes de los "particulares", que el trabajo comunitario era, como su nombre creían indicar, de comunistas. Y los comunistas son enemigos de la libertad y de la paz, encarnadas en el general Alfredo Stroessner. Luego el rumor se hizo carne y aparecieron las denuncias y, con ellas, la intervención policial. Todavía sin las dimensiones que tendrían poco después.

Los miembros de las Ligas seguían, no obstante, trabajando tranquilos, seguros de que no violaban la ley. Es más, seguros de estar cumpliendo con la voluntad de Dios, tal como lo encontraban en sus lecturas semanales de la Biblia Latinoamericana, editada como resultado del Concilio Vaticano II y de Medellín, que fortalecieron el cristianismo a partir de la idea de que la pobreza no es una virtud para entrar en el cielo, sino una desgracia que debe ser remediada aquí en la tierra con el trabajo y la hermandad.

EL ASESINATO DE SILVANO FLORES FRENTE A SUS HIJOS

Cuando Stroessner ordenó la represión final contra los miembros de las Ligas Agrarias Cristianas, en abril de 1976, Silvano Flores fue advertido para que se escapara. Respondió que no tenía por qué hacerlo, pues no era un ladrón ni menos un asesino. Con esta lógica de hombre bueno, de hombre honrado, quedó en la casa para no abandonar, además, a su esposa y sus hijos.

Tal como se le había anunciado, en la madrugada fue rodeada la vivienda por policías y milicianos colorados. Luego de los golpes en la puerta y la amenaza de echarla, salió la esposa. Le preguntaron por Silvano. La respuesta fue que, si no traían una orden judicial, no les permitiría entrar. Los agricultores sabían lo de la orden judicial porque habían leído y estudiado en la Constitución. Luego les pidió que, si en realidad eran policías -se vestían de civil-, esperaran el amanecer para que su marido les acompañara. En rigor, la señora buscaba afanosamente ganar tiempo para que su marido se escapara, según pudo hacerle entrar en razón cuando arreciaban los golpes en la puerta. Silvano, antes de salir, envolvió el dinero, producto de la venta de arroz realizada esa tarde, en la campera de su hija de dos años, encargándole que lo cuidara, seguro de que venían también para el saqueo. Hecho esto, salió por detrás de la casa, pero no fue mucho lo que anduvo. Al salir, fue seguido por sus tres hijos menores. La mayor tenía 14 años. Los asesinos le alcanzaron en un espeso yuyal donde le tumbaron a golpes. Ya caído, le degollaron en presencia de sus hijos. Luego robaron el dinero envuelto en la campera. Al parecer, este fue el motivo principal de la intervención, según testimonio de la viuda que vio entre los criminales a quien sabía de la venta y del monto del dinero. "Las fuerzas del orden" culminaron su tarea esa madrugada con la violación de la menor de 14 años, conforme al relato de la misma víctima en la audiencia pública.

Como era de esperar, la dictadura acomodó la versión del asesinato. En un "memorándum" de Investigaciones, que forma parte del "Archivo del Horror", publicado en el libro "Es mi informe", de Alfredo Boccia Paz, Myrian Angélica González y Rosa Palau, se lee lo siguiente: "Asimismo, para ver el grado de adoctrinamiento y fanatismo al que habían llegado luego de la concientización efectuada a los mismos, se cita el caso de SILVANO FLORES, uno de los principales jefes de Columnas, quien se degolló en presencia de sus hijos al verse rodeado y sin posibilidades de huir de la acción policial".

Lo de jefe de columna está referido a la Organización Político Militar (OPM), al que pertenecieron algunos líderes de las Ligas Agrarias Cristianas. Se suele decir que por culpa de quienes lideraban la OPM, al ganarse a los agricultores, se había reprimido también a las Ligas Agrarias. No fue así. La represión contra las Ligas ya venía desde la década pasada. Lo de la OPM fue el pretexto de la dictadura. En momentos en que cayeron en manos de Pastor Coronel los archivos completos de la OPM, la Policía estaba enterada con exactitud de quiénes dirigían la Organización Político Militar y de sus adherentes. La represión, enteramente indiscriminada, apuntaba a desalentar cualquier intento de seguir con vida las Ligas Agrarias Cristianas, las que murieron junto con sus líderes, como el legendario Silvano Flores, a quien su viuda le lloró de pie, trabajando, como el personaje de una tragedia.

Próxima nota: Los propósitos de las Ligas Agrarias

Alcibiades González Delvalle

LAS LIGAS AGRARIAS CRISTIANAS Y LA BARBARIE STRONISTA (2)

Martín Rolón está desaparecido desde el Jueves Santo de 1976
(Del diario ABC Color, Asunción, Paraguay)

En la apertura de la audiencia pública, monseñor Melanio Medina dijo el viernes último, en San Juan Bautista, que la Comisión de Verdad y Justicia, de la que es titular, busca saber qué fue lo que pasó en nuestro pasado reciente, evitar el olvido y sensibilizar a las entidades públicas y sociales para que se construya una cultura de la paz y de concordia entre paraguayos.

"La verdad os hará libres", sentencia la Biblia, pero según Voltaire, primero tenemos que ser libres para decir la verdad. En los tiempos terribles del stronismo, los miembros de las Ligas Agrarias Cristianas -a igual que muchos otros ciudadanos- vivían encadenados a un modelo político represivo. Por ello nunca pudieron alzar la voz para denunciar a sus torturadores, a los asesinos de sus padres o de sus hijos, a los saqueadores, a los violadores.

Recién ahora es posible que las víctimas de una dictadura perversa y corrupta cuenten en público sus padecimientos. Recién ahora pueden contar la verdad porque son libres, por lo menos más libres que antes.

Mirta Rolón fue la segunda expositora en la audiencia. Es hija de Martín Rolón, desaparecido desde el Jueves Santo de 1976. En la madrugada del 4 de abril, la policía rodeó la casa y la llenó de gases lacrimógenos y de balas. Fue en Lambaré. Mirta cuenta que la madre las cubrió en una esquina, en el suelo, mientras los atracadores ordenaban que saliesen solo la esposa de Martín con sus hijos. Luego fueron llevados a Investigaciones, donde Mirta recuerda que se encontraron con otros niños y niñas. Esto era un hecho frecuente. Una niña de 10 años y otra de 14 -esta con deficiencia mental- estuvieron presas en el Buen Pastor acusadas de terroristas a raíz del "Caso Caaguazú", en marzo de 1980. En la madrugada del día 8, ex integrantes de las Ligas Agrarias asaltaron un ómnibus para llegar a Asunción y presentar reclamos contra la prepotencia de la esposa de un general. En la represión a cargo de policías, militares y las milicias coloradas de Caaguazú, fueron asesinadas 10 personas, de las que hasta hoy se ignora el sitio donde estarían enterradas.

REHENES DE LA POLICIA DE LA DICTADURA


Los padres, incluidos tres hermanos menores de Martín Rolón, estuvieron primero en Investigaciones y luego de varios meses fueron trasladados a la prisión de Emboscada. Domingo, hermano de Martín e igualmente dirigente de las Ligas Agrarias de Misiones, se escapó a la Argentina. Seis meses después, enterado de que su familia sería liberada solo con su entrega a la Policía, decidió regresar al país por el río Pilcomayo, donde fue apresado por los gendarmes, que lo torturaron sin piedad. A los gendarmes se les unieron después policías paraguayos, que prosiguieron con los golpes. Luego de una semana, fue traído a Investigaciones, donde pasó un año engrillado. El Operativo Cóndor estaba en pleno vuelo.

El padre de Martín, ya liberado junto con su esposa e hijas menores, se propuso la misión imposible de saber el destino de su hijo Martín. Creyó que el presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, Luis María Argaña, de alguna manera se interesaría en este caso. En esta idea insistió, hasta conseguir una audiencia. Argaña ya sabía que el señor Rolón golpeaba con insistencia las puertas de otras autoridades judiciales y administrativas. Al recibirle, le advirtió que descanse en sus averiguaciones si no quería descansar como su hijo. El señor Rolón entendió la respuesta y entendió la amenaza. Pero no le entró en la cabeza que el titular del Poder Judicial actuase con la misma arrogancia y prepotencia que el jefe del Departamento de Investigaciones, Pastor Coronel. En rigor, ambas personas estaban en el mismo proyecto de apuntalar la dictadura. No estarían perdiendo el tiempo en repartir misericordia ni justicia.

Los Rolón eran oriundos de la compañía San Juan Potrero, de San Ignacio, Misiones. Tres de los hermanos eran músicos que animaban cumpleaños, casamientos, bailes "a total beneficio de...". Martín ejecutaba el acordeón; Santiago, el arpa y Domingo, el contrabajo. Esta actividad los ponía en contacto con los pobladores de toda la región misionera. Martín, el mayor, ejercía también un liderazgo que pronto lo puso a disposición de las Ligas Agrarias.

UN VASTO PROYECTO DE CONTENIDO SOCIAL


No es casualidad que la Comisión de Verdad y Justicia eligiera la capital misionera para la primera audiencia pública en el interior. Las Ligas Agrarias Cristianas nacieron en los años ’60 y se desarrollaron en Misiones. Fueron una respuesta a las necesidades de los agricultores, abandonados por el gobierno. Percibieron que podrían aspirar a una vida mejor solo desde la unión de sus fuerzas y esfuerzos. La escasez de la tierra les obligaron a pensar en tareas comunitarias. En esta aspiración recibieron las orientaciones de varios sacerdotes, jesuitas y franciscanos. El centro de proyección fueron las parroquias y su guía espiritual el "nuevo" cristianismo, surgido del Concilio Vaticano II y de Medellín.

Las Ligas, que pronto se extendieron a otras regiones, se organizaban en comités con un secretario de educación, secretario de organización, secretario de acta y propaganda, secretario de finanzas.

El crecimiento, que fue muy rápido, era debido a los resultados económicos que los socios obtenían con el trabajo tipo minga, el almacén de consumo que eliminaba las intermediaciones, las escuelitas comunitarias donde los niños aprendían rápidamente porque se les enseñaba en guaraní, las colectas para las obras comunitarias como puestos de salud, canchas de fútbol, parroquias. En una palabra, una vida sostenida en la solidaridad.

Las primeras represiones se hicieron sentir antes de finalizar los años ’60. Todavía no eran muy duras. Obedecían a las intrigas de los pequeños comerciantes, en su mayoría seccionaleros, que veían disminuir sus ganancias.

El relato de Julián Bobadilla (Kokueguára Rembiasa, Edic. Cepag, 1991) es revelador: "Allá por 1966 yo era presidente de la subseccional colorada en mi localidad, Paraje Guasu (Caaguazú). Todos los meses teníamos reuniones en la seccional colorada. Fue cuando empecé a tener problemas con los directivos y miembros de la seccional colorada. Decían de mí que no valgo porque soy miembro de las Ligas Agrarias, y que esta organización es mala. Entonces decidieron cambiarme. Se realizó una junta general un domingo y preguntaron si me iba a dejar de las Ligas, o me iban a tener que cambiar. Y salí. Eso me dijo Nenito Gallardo".

En la década siguiente, la opción ya no era "te quedas con nosotros o te vas con ellos". Cuando el mismo Stroessner se hizo cargo de las Ligas a través de Pastor Coronel y sus torturadores, se entró en un laberinto de lágrimas, de sangre y de muerte. En este laberinto desapareció Martín Rolón, cuya hija acercó la historia en la lucha contra el olvido.

Próxima entrega: La familia Ortellado recuerda a Silvano.

Alcibiades González Delvalle

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween

I was quite busy yesterday. I hadn't put up any decorations at all, (even though originally I had planned to put some up a few weeks in advance, in hopes of attracting little goblins) so I was left running around trying to find pumpkins (there were apparently none left!) and some extension cords to light orange lights in the back near the park. I wanted people in the residential area, (anyone that might be walking about) behind us to see that they could cross the park and come through the gate to our house. (We are not actually on any of the streets in that residential area, instead we are on a secondary route, so while we are close, we are not necessarily in the neighbourhood.) Anyway, it was all in vain, because I had to leave to pick up Marc at 10 to six. His bus was later than expected, (6:20) and he was supposed to leave again right away and go to Ceridian, to help some of those programmers out (the ones replacing him), they ARE paying him to do this. So noone was here to give out candy anyway while I was out with the kids, and anyone, hardly anyone else was out besides us. In fact, at 7:00 when we finally went out, we were the FIRST people at most of the homes. Most parents just drive their kids into town and they trick or treat there.

I also "helped out" (or was present) in Dominic's class for the Halloween party in the afternoon.

By the time I had everyone home, into pyjamas, and they had eaten their (limited) share of candy for the day, brushed their teeth and finally gone to bed, (with the exception of Jean-Alexandre who stays up a little later) I just crashed in the armchair in the living room, while Jean-Alexandre talked about the Sims. When it looked like I was just about to fall asleep, he decided to go lie down in my bed for awhile, where he feel asleep, and I pretty much ended up falling asleep in the chair for a few minutes. I finally got up, cleaned up a little, and put Jean-Alexandre to bed downstairs. Then I went to bed.

So went my Halloween.

Poor Dominic was disappointed this morning that Halloween didn't last longer than one day.

Cleaning (from Juana la Cubana)

Hurricane Nameless has blasted through here and upended everything. Actually no, I exagerate, but it seems that way. In reality, the monkeys visited my cabin in my absence, and seem to have had a bit of fun. Also I hadn't cleaned up yet from my last visit with Gollum.

Gollum can be a rather messy eater, (and he prefers his fish raw, blechhh) but also, sometimes he brings things with him, which he forgets behind, things I don't necessarily need or want in my way. So then I have to place them somewhere, out of my way, until he finally deems to take them away or make use of them.

I shall go now and clean the place out. I believe that should put me in a fairly good mood.