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Garzon, Uruguay

BY Lisa Lindblad

March 29, 2011

I was in the hills last night, no more than 15 minutes from Pueblo Garzon and 40 minutes from Jose Ignacio, where I had lunched at La Huella, my favorite restaurant, at the usual table for 12.  Chic, trendy, great food and fun, I always breathe a sigh of contentment, however, when I leave JI and turn off route 9 to head back to our village.

But so fast is change, these days, that even my lovely pueblo is beginning to alter.  Walking down a dusty road yesterday morning with my sister, we bumped in to a film crew calling for silence.  This is a bit difficult to ask for in a village of cows, goats, sheep and chickens!

But there is another sound these days here..a truck carrying timber or bricks, building crews with radio, chatter and laughter, saws, hammers, a cement mixer.  People are coming to Garzon – as they always have – but now more and more are buying property and staying.

In Africa, we have a word for the old timers; we call then the “when we’s”, and it refers to their reference point which is the past.  Conversation with these folks is often sad and laced with nostalgia, something I am not fond of.  Yet I can feel the stirrings of nostalgia when I see these changes.  Keeping life as is, holding on to the magic of place, is, I know, a fruitless endeavor.  But I do think that we must respond to our changing reality and, rather than let it ride roughshod over us, we must meet it with intelligence and sensitivity.  Various ideas have been floated..producing a fund to buy land, to keep it undeveloped, is one of the more interesting.

In the hills last night, I felt a relief from the fear I have about the development in the village.  Remote, lonely, beautiful, it is remarkable landscape where farmers live in a timeless way.  But my life is in my village and, if I want this furry brown character to parade down the road outside my gate, it behooves me to think of ways to protect his, and our, lives.

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The Mallmann Diaspora