Peasant Autonomy
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Story 165

Paraguay – 2016

So familiar

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Rodrigo Soldon)


Step by step, Juan walks into the lake. The cold water gently rolls back and forth like it always does. The sun is shining on the water quickly showing dark spots and light ones. A few branches and leaves float on the water and join in the game of the sparkling water. Juan continues walking. His steps are not as sure as usual. This morning his wife Ana passed away. Juan washes himself thoroughly.

Juan hears the familiar rustle of the waterfall. He looks up and sees the water streaming over the rocks. He sees the trees on the shore. So familiar. This is their forest. A long time ago, he and Ana started a small farm here with a field and a vegetable garden. They raised their children here. Juan dug a well near the farmhouse so Ana always had enough water for her vegetables.
Together they had a nice time. Sometimes it was difficult such as when the harvest was disappointing or when one of the children was ill. But the forest always helped them. In the forest, Juan stored his snares, and Ana collected medical herbs and wild fruits. The children gathered firewood there.

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Andrea Ferreira)


Tomorrow Juan will bury Ana. He will have already dug a hole in the forest, their forest. The sun glitters through the branches. The birds sing. Countless insects fly around in the air and many more crawl along the ground. Juan takes his shovel, walks into the forest, and starts digging. There are so many roots. He cuts them in two with his shovel. Tomorrow he will bury Ana.

At night Juan cannot sleep. He starts a fire and takes a few sips of rum. The crickets give their concert like always and the night birds call. Yes, they had a good time together.


In La última tierra (2016) the Paraguayan director Pablo Lamar shows us a small farm in the forest with all its sounds. He films so calmly and intensely that it feels as if you are in the forest yourself.

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= the next page: Wolves - a hamlet in Afghanistan – 2016, story 166.
= the Table of contents, story 165.