Heat, rain and humidity are with us. From the window of the Cordillera Hotel we can see the machines of the port, we hear the bustle of the people in the street. In my eye bags you can see the tiredness while I’m writing these days of work.
We mark this as the first day since the film crew is finally complete. We make some calls and get everything ready. There isn’t much time. Working with talented people like MAURICIO VIDAL, CÉSAR SALAZAR ,GUSTAVO ANGARITA JR and MAURICIO GONZALEZ, is always a pleasure, but they are very busy people and every minute counts.
We welcome the crew, receive the equipment, and have a quick breakfast. The phone rings. It was the call we were waiting for.
A few days before we came into contact with Diego Guevara, director of PUERTO CREATIVO group, young filmmakers from the region. In the heat of some viche-based cocktails that he offered us, (delicious by the way) we had a lively conversation and we agreed to meet on the trip to SAN MARCOS. They would record some things for their web series and Diego invited us to join them as he knew we could find something interesting for our project there.
This call is our starting signal, we must finish breakfast quickly so we don’t lose our guides. The van is waiting at the entrance of the hotel; we have to pack everything in a hurry. We have been on the road for a short time when it rains. The locals tell us that is always like that, so the houses, the paint and the people must be resistant.
Waiting for our friends of Puerto Creativo
The Day advances, the first thing that the Pacific shows us in this visit, is the strength of women and the wonder of the flavor they inherited, always alive in the stoves of their home.
Food is more than a moment of family bonding and delight. That close relationship that exists between fire, heart and health, as taught by many grandparents from different cultures, is clear in the kitchen of the Pacific, where medicinal and aromatic plants grow on the rooftops, becoming an aromatic dinner accompanied by a drink of viche curao for body and soul.
The patience and kindness of Doña Calixta will remain forever in us, an older woman who makes presence every weekend on the bridge over the Dagua river. In front of an abandoned dance club already consumed by nature, she sits down to sell minced sugar cane and pepa bread, with the perseverance of over 20 years where people already know her there as Doña Cali.
Doña Calixta on the Dagua River
At the San Marcos Restaurant, we met the women who motivated our visit. Diego had told us about them, women heads of families recognized by Unesco as traditional cooks, organized to defend their flavors and sustenance. We talk about heredity, cooking, midwifery, medicinal herbs … Suddenly, May makes a sign to me, hidden among those who were curiously watching the filming, is a woman with white hair, a voluminous body and sparkling eyes that powerfully caught our attention.
We approached, speaking softly (as we were filming) to the woman who was observing us. Her shirt let us know that she also belonged to Cocinando desde las Raíces (Cooking from the Roots) group. She spoke to us with joy; we asked for her name and phone number so we could contact her later; I wrote her name down on the paper… today, looking at my notes from the trip, I can’t stop smiling. On this trip to the Pacific we really met Colombia, Doña Colombia…
Colombia and Julia.
The filmmakers getting ready to shoot.
Back at the Batcave, sorry at the hotel, we received a text message, we finally made an appointment with the teacher FREDY PLATICON. Our friend, the artist Garcerá, had showed to us that if we were interested in learning about music and dance from the Pacific, we had to meet this educator and director of both the PORTEÑA CULTURAL FOUNDATION and the TAMAFRI. musical group.
The day had been long, but we could not miss the opportunity to meet him. With a camera and direct sound already mounted in the van and everyone’s approval, we forgot about going back to the hotel and went straight to meet him… so… Why don’t we have videos or interviews in the project with such a character? Well, a children’s party forced us to abort the mission.
Una canción para que se animen de TAMAFRI.
As soon as we arrived at the place, the music was loud throughout the street. Cesar, he didn’t have to say anything. May and I entered the house, the walls echoed to the rhythm of the music, and we had to speak very loudly if we wanted the teacher or someone else to listen to us. We explained the project to him as best we could in these circumstances. He very kindly listened to us and shared some of his experiences as a cultural manager. We went up to a room on the second floor. There he showed us the group’s instruments and some costumes for the presentations.
Back in the van, while resting my vocal chords after the effort that the conversation implied, I observed the CD that he gave us (UN GRITO EN EL ESTERO ) and its words echo in my head like music did on the walls of his house; Even with recognitions that he and his group have got, getting any kind of financial support from the state is difficult.
That night, after taking a quick break, we visited the Malecón, a meeting place for the residents of Buenaventura, where everyone greets you. There are also elegant restaurants, such as Palafitos or Julieta, where we meet friends and people who know the history of the city. Comparing them with the humble restaurant in San Marcos speaks of contrasts, of two different ways of contemplating the legacy. The past as a base where they elaborate something new and the other that preserves the knowledge intact and gives you a glimpse of what it was.