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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Beginning to learn

Merida may prove to be one of those places that breaks one's heart. At its best, it is beautiful and bustling, with buildings several hundred years old being refurbished

and repurposed. I suspect that this building, when finished, will look something like the state central library.

This lovely courtyard belongs to a public university.

Yes, grass and "weeds" are growing between the flagstones,

and it is someone's job to keep them watered so that they continue to absorb CO2 and help cool the air.  (People are paid to do far less valuable things)

But the history of this place is tragic. The city was founded in 1542 when Spanish soldiers overthrew the Mayan ruler and destroyed the existing city (and the Mayans had probably done dreadful things to others in their time). Centuries of enslavement and conflict followed, culminating in the 50-year caste war of the late nineteenth century, in which some 30,000 people died.

Despite the tragedy, this is a city proud of and honest about its history. This Friday will mark the 475th anniversary of Merida's founding with a citywide celebration of arts and culture. Yet the Palacio de Gobernio contains a series of commissioned murals depicting the horrifying as well as the inspiring aspects of that long history. We can only hope that these ever-present reminders of what can go wrong will help the future get more things right.

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