While deciding what I was going to write, I went through a lot of news and OP-ED sections in numerous papers looking for inspiration. I could not find a topic that wasn’t too controversial, or too cliché. I did not want to start with the typical story of my cultural experience with the U.S.
And, I don’t think my migration story is that exciting. I was getting frustrated, so last night I went to bed and I decided to check Twitter as a way of trying to separate my mind from this article, when I found the perfect story to share. It was a sad news article about Colombia, but I found it really poetic. The headline, translated from Spanish: “In Santa Marta, [people] protest because they haven’t been able to ‘make love’ in 11 days.”
First, I need to start by saying that I have never found weirder news/stories that the ones I find in South America, especially in my country, Colombia. Everybody says that the active imagination of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, literature Nobel prize winner, is a consequence of all the crazy stories from his country, I agree. Only someone from this country could have written such magical, but real, stories like the ones that appear in the every day of this country. I want to share this one with you.
Colombia right now is dealing with several scandals of corruption that has the entire country shocked by their magnitude. One of them is related to an energy service company, Electricaribe, that was supposed to distribute energy to the entire Colombian Caribbean region. Electricaribe is a mixed company regulated by the government, but administrated by the private sector.
Because of several disputes and failures to fulfill their contracts, Electricaribe never finished setting up the electric system in the region and now some towns, and even sectors in the big cities are suffering from a cut of energy that has lasted more than three weeks. What is normal in the rest of the world is that people would complain about their inability to do their normal activities like cooking, watching their favorite shows, calling their relatives, or drinking cold water from the fridge to lower down their body heats. However, in this surrealistic country, people are complaining because ‘making love’ has become an impossible activity.
Santa Marta is a Colombian city located next the Caribbean Sea, just a little above the equator. Because of its location and its elevation (20 feet above sea level), Santa Marta has a mean temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and a range between 90°F and 73°F throughout the entire year. Also, because Santa Marta is a tropical seaside city its level of relative humidity is high, almost 70% all day long.
So, it is obvious that they find their city really hot, and sometimes maddening. It is almost as if it were summer the whole year. Just imagine sleeping without having your A/C on during the summer in this weather. Now think about doing natural act that is ‘making love,’ I cannot find a more humane protest than that of the people in Santa Marta. People are mad because the heat is so intense that the act of ‘making-love’ becomes an uncomfortable practice.
After all, sex is a basic need like drinking water or eating, so their complaints are logical. But I cannot separate the fact, and this is the poetic part that inspired me, that people feel frustrated by their inability to love that person beside them, touching them, their incapacity to be one person and two people at the same. It is like taking a small part from “Love in The Times of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and finding it in real life.