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Pueblo Garzon

BY Lisa Lindblad

March 5, 2010

There are these remarkable places in the world which, by accident or design, somehow defy the crushing burden of sameness.  They are characterized by a spark that surprises, a trait that takes one aback.  A ready smile that meets ones own shyness; a proffered hand after a transaction; a kiss from a stranger offered in greeting.  What links them all together?  It seems to me that it is the open heart of the other who seems, unbelievably, to be able to transcend the fear of being rejected or hurt.
The same surprisingly intimate experiences also exist with animals which is one of the reasons that visitors are so enchanted with the Galapagos Islands and with Baja California.  But these places are rare and becoming rarer.
I spend a great deal of time in Pueblo Garzon, Uruguay, in a village that is suspended in a gentler time.  With only 250 odd people of whom less than 30 children are enrolled in the local school, this is a place of such clarity of intention, a village where  relationships are straightforward and trusting.  And it’s not only with the children and their relatives.  The animals, too, venture over for a curious look and don’t recoil when you reach to touch.  No one here thinks that this is a particularly remarkable place.  Thankfully.  But it is.

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John Derian Goes West