Colombia and Dona Inah

I fly above Colombia. I feel sooo much joy that I cant decide whether
I am like an addict that is just trying to go back to it. So I quit
writing. I pause and decide I should be silent and just feel it.

I feel so much joy to have random conversations with people around in
the airport of Bogota. See the elderly men who look like they have
just fallen out of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. I remember in my
body what i love about going alone to places i don’t know. I watch
from the distance. The little intricacies of a society that is unknown
to me.

So I stop writing and I start to try to remember what is it that I
want to go back to. I know… I still do… But I wonder how much I am
in essence a nomad. Then I put music to listen.

I listen to Dona Inah. Dona Inah is a 76 samba legend in Sao Paulo.  I
ve known her for many  years.. But the first time I talked to her was
on my birthday this november. I was in my favourite place. The Bar of
Cidao who died while I was away this year. And of which I have spoken
so much of.

I celebrate my birthday in this little bar.. It is my place in Brasil.
I was so sad to go there when I came back bc Cidao was not there. But
now it is for me the bar of Rose ( his wife) whom I always talk to. It
was the last place I went before I got sick, and the first I went to
when i could move again. So it was where I decided to celebrate my
birthday. on a monday, with my closest friends.. At around 3 am Dna
Inah in her 76 of age shows up.

She like me, i found out later, finds it hard to go there without
Cidao. She knew him for too many years. He was a dear friend to her.
She is something like the Cesaria Evora of Samba in Sao Paulo.So I,
barely recovering, went up to her and asked her to sing a song in my
bithday. She did. I was beyond happy.

After that I went to her concert and I sat with her listening to her
tell me her life. They were really epic stories. I encouraged her to
come back to Cidao more often. She told me it was hard for her. yet 2
days later she came. and I again asked her to sing a song i loved. She
did.

I had taken with me a friend from childhood i had not seen in 16 years
(as she lives abroad for all these years). Heloisa, my friend, is a
brilliant pianist, and she was like me dazzled by encountering these
beautiful places in sao paulo. These gems in Sao Paulo.

And then I came to Colombia and I love it. And my whole body is soo
excited. But as i put dona Inah to sing here. I recognise this old
voice. Now, not only, she sounds as the amazing woman as she always
has.. But now as I hear  her  i know her stories. I know   her health.
I know her.

I now know where to go to hear it. So through music again I can
remember what is this new journey I am trying to travel. The one of
more consistency.

I am so happy to be in Colombia. I am about to get to famous
Cartagena! And I love it. But As I hear all the songs Dona Inah sings
it makes me realise I need to be back to hear her more often. To hear
her stories. i want to go back to the bar of cidao where I now know
every single musician.

Building a home when you so easily get sidetracked like me is very
hard. When, like me,  I get to meet only the nicest things everywhere
makes it easier to choose to keep going. But, maybe, there is some
balance I can find. I am not  yet sure how.

Where I can keep all  these wonderful people in my life and yet have a
home. i dont know how to… but I want to.

The most important thought of this flight is:  it is the first in a
long time that I care about. Every single other one I had no fear of
dying. These time, I have, no fear either, but I have a desire to
live. To see. To find out more clearly what is this journey all about.

I start a conversation with the beautiful black woman next to me. She
is from Cartagena. She works as a maid in Bogota. She has abandoned
her 2 children in Cartagena.  She  has to work. I have heard stories
like these all over. It reminds me of the children of Asia. I tell her
what I can. Let them know how much you are suffering. I dont know the
lady. She is a tough one. Somehow I see she is suffering. I seat there
the embodiment of someone who has no ” real economic politic
problems”. Yet I talk to her of what comes to my mind what I feel will
help her. In the end, she is concerned about me getting to the hotel.
She tells me her life.

It is one more precious life that I have heard. One more different and
yet the same  than all others. I get to Cartagena and I love it. I am
brought to the Hostel. This is home to me. The travellers. Their
thoughts. Their existencial quest. It all dazzles me yet it feels less
profound than before. They are amazing people. I can connect to them
in seconds we have all been to too many continents. I seat quiet for a
while reading Mia Couto. The Mozambican author.

Then I loose it, and I go back to talking to travellers.

I do not know the balance yet. Since I got sick I for the first time
do Yoga. I observe how much less flexible I am now. How much weaker. I
am not shocked. It is what it is. It is what I asked for. The human
discovery. In my own body, I feel, the plurality I defend  in the
world. Today I inhabit a different body then I did before. I am yet
not sure what it makes me think.

It is morning here. In very few seconds I will connect with  it. But
as I seat to finish writing what I started yesterday I listen to Dona
Inah. And in my whole body I am ready to listen to Colombian music,
hear peoples stories, connect to whoever shows up. But in her voice
there is something broken. I know what it was. She told me about it. I
recognize it. I know her story more. And so her voice is yet more
beautiful to me. Yet there is some nuances I cant know. Only with time
it might make more sense to me.

I remember once again that beauty is in recognition. I recognize this
life style. It is what I lived for so long. It is beautiful to me.
Yet, maybe, I should learn to recognize something else. I dont know…
something we can build in time. I am not sure. But I am open to find
it  out.

love,
Me

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