deepundergroundpoetry.com

Closed Loop

When I arrived at Liza's backyard, the pig was already slaughtered. All fiesta events cancelled, I considered it feasible and sensible to buy the live pig, butcher it, take what we need and give the rest away. The setting is a little closed loop backyard farm. Taro, banana, cassava, are all growing wild, sparse under an extended dry season. These serve as food for the fatteners. In turn, the fatteners provide dense, nutritious meat for the village. Despite the masks and social distancing, it was like fiesta. People shared meat, cooked and ate. Liza has 5 children and 2 families living in her tiny household. Surrounded by edible plants and animals her supply chain remains strong.

Two years ago, Marcy left to seek employment in the city. For her and many on the island, this was the way forward: a distance of no less than 500 miles, as far away as possible from a backward island life. But since lockdown, Marcy's "non-essential" contract work remains suspended for what seem like forever. She watched meager resources dwindle while awaiting relief goods to arrive. Before sundown, each week, tenement residents put out plastic chairs by their doorsteps. City council workers arrive, lay small bags of rice and tinned foods on the chairs as residents look on, in observance of social distancing rules.

A week into city lockdowns, as boredom upended the novelty of "save lives, stay home", people quarreled over money from the government. Suddenly, "middle class", "tax payers" and "amelioration" were buzzwords. People inspected income classifications to check if they qualified for support and why their neighbours shouldn't. A wave of social awareness rooted in old colonial structures was emerging. It was high season for anti-poor sentiments. For the widest social protection program ever launched, the country quickly goes into billions of dollars of debt from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The thought of money was flowing as supply chains broke. Cities were falling apart, not from the virus, but from the very same desires that built those forts of bankrupt capitalism.

Talking to people in our village, moving to the city now seems a less attractive option.


Published in edited form at
https://greenworld.org.uk/article/no-going-back-rebuilding-post-coronavirus-world
absinthe
Written by absinthe
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