Jun 12, 2008


I'm watching an episode of "A Different World" on tv. The story revolves around the conflict the African-American students have about the Mammy image being presented in an art show. One side says it's important to have these Mammy images presented in order to reclaim the past and redefine it. The other side is saying that was the past and leave it there.

I'm taking some time right now to reflect on my ancestral history. I'm choosing to zoom in on the story of the Jíbaro, prounouced He-Ba-Row. Jíbaro is a term meaning forest people, commonly used in Puerto Rico to refer to mountain dwelling peasants, but in modern times as a broader cultural meaning. Its original use is often attributed as a Taíno Indian word, however some claim that it may originate from Spain as a combination of the ancient castillian words Jiba, meaning hill, and Ero, meaning man. Source: Wikipedia

Okay, enough of the academic definition, fueled by the investigation to support the theorization, concerning the manifestation of civilization of the human population. While the "itons" are often useful they can often shun the importance of knowing how we are designed to relate to each other as human to human.

I was taught as a child to be a Jíbaro was a bad thing. Being a Jíbaro meant you was poor, uneducated, unsophisticated, and had way too much African, and for some, Taino indian blood in your family tree. Basically, being labeled a Jíbaro, meant you were a part of the lower class.

This is what I have to say about the Jíbaros:

Jíbaros are divine people. They are a mix of the Taino, European, and African ancestors of the island of Puerto Rico. The blood that flows through their veins is magical.

Jíbaros will welcome you into their home with honest eyes. A Jíbaro will take you in and understand you on a level that is human and not based on your resume.

Jíbaros have gave birth to, and nurtured Puerto Rican culture.

A Jíbara (female) will cure what ails you with natural medicine and caress you with touches from her gifted hands because she knows the exchange of that loving energy can seal the deal with god, and the part of your spirit that wants to heal you.

A Jíbara will take $10 dollars and feed a family of four for a week if she has to.

You can never ask for a better lover than a Jíbara. There is no shame in her game. If she loves you, she loves you completely and without shame. Love her back and the world is yours. If you betray your Jíbara lover, I feel pity for you. You just gave away your strongest ally in life.

A Jíbaro (male) will give you a honest day work, so give him a honest day pay.

A Jíbaro, like a Jíbara, has a tremendous amount of courage.

Jíbaros believe in loyalty, but you must earn it.

A true Jíbaro shows up to work everyday, on time, and ready to get the job done right.

A Jíbaro lover will whisper adoration into your ears, as he savors you, while sharing all of him between the sheets, in the midnight hour.

Jíbaro are at times fragile people. When they came to NYC, for some their spirits were not ready for it. As a result, many Jíbaros lost their connection to the divine. But, that is another story to tell and will be part of another post. Just think about racism, slums, and slave wages. Get the picture?

God bless you Jíbaro power. I was suppose to be dead, or in jail, or strung out on drugs. This world underestimated my Jíbaro ancestry. Thanks to my Jíbaro family. I am here to share my gifts. La Le Lo Lai!


Marcos said...

Thank you for that close examination of “El Jibaro. “ One of the most memorable compliments given to me was at Izzie's Three Kings day when his cousin No called me Jibaro. The way he said it made me so proud. I also had conflict with the word, because at times the word Jibaro also meant uneducated, naïve, uncaring, and a fool, which does not describe the perception I have about myself. I also have conflicts with it because; the reality is that there are not true jibaros anymore. With the American invasion of Puerto Rico, the way of life, and even some of the principles that sustained that way of life in the past, were uprooted and replace by a more calculated, merchant, Puerto Rican archetype. And also the image of el Jibaro like anything else has an association with the past, and its nostalgia. Thus resulting on the merchandising of the image of El Jibaro in stores like K-mart and Walgreen. Nevertheless I am proud of your sincere attempts to auto-difine your history and your character.

Allan S. said...

I reached a breaking point and needed to acknowledge that I exist. I needed the truth to shine. I had to let go of lie I consumed, because, it caused an ache in the deepest part of my being.