Donaltions Needed to feed the animals

Donations Needed to Feed the Animals - 2010

This donation box “for feeding the animals” is at a mini-zoo in the rainforest, part of the entertainment at a little stand that sells fabulous tropical fruit smoothies. The brightly hand-painted box sits on the metal base from an old Singer treadle sewing machine — somehow not out of place at all in this rustic location.

In another form of donation, the local Senate has just passed legislation appropriating up to $7 million for the government to negotiate the purchase of 12.4 acres of land deep in the rainforest. Now that’s almost $565,000 per acre. For comparison, a 31 acre plot in the same area is listed on MLS for $465,000. Yes, 31 acres for less than the price of one.

The land in question had been leased by the government for use as a rock quarry in 1929. That use ended in 1940, and the land was rezoned agricultural in the 1950’s, disallowing future use as a quarry. In defense of their recent action, our Senators have variously alluded to the land’s environmental and public value as parkland, to the value of the rocks still there, and to the injustice done to the owners (presumably by the rezoning over 50 years ago).

It would be nice if all families who suffered injustice over the past half century could be so compensated. I wish I understood the history and logic that allow this to move forward without public objection. It’s not as though there are no other important uses for the money.

The picture below of a Fed-Ex truck hustling along Church Street in Christiansted town illustrates the contrasts and contradictions that result from the mix of modern enterprise, with the sometimes unfamiliar island priorities and view of the world. It can be difficult at times to distinguish the things that add charm from those that cause frustration.

Fed-Ex on Church Street

Fed-Ex on Church Street - 2010

12 Comments on “Donations

  1. Great photos Don, Amazing the stupidity/balls of the government. I’m sitting here scratching my head.

  2. I really like the textures in the scene at the bottom with the peeling paint and cracked plaster and somehow the Fedex truck doesn’t look out of place. Is that a rock in the foreground? I like the dark values set against the subtle light of the building with that dab of red that really grabs the eye.
    One can never predict the wisdom of the government. Our city hall just purchased a large parcel of brown lands to build a football stadium that the football team doesn’t want anything to do with.

  3. Hi Catherine. The second image is subtle and complex with all the textures and the small focal point. The foreground is part of a string of ruins that runs for several blocks along this street. The stones are part of a stone wall that has mostly collapsed, and in the foreground is a stone/brick/stucco archway along the street. As a relative newcomer, I don’t know the history of these ruins, but they are picturesque.
    Ahh, the “wisdom” of government… yes, there is always a reason for what happens, often just out of view.

  4. The second image I want to put a frame around as the colors and the shapes I find very soothing. The first one love the intense green, the singler pedel is nestalgic.

  5. Thanks, Starla! My mother used to have one of those old Singers, so it caught my eye out there in the woods.

  6. It’s very interesting to read your commentary about local politics. I can see why you would be flummoxed by their purchase. Just wow.

    The first photo has a beautiful, shimmery quality that demands careful consideration and urgency for donating. And, the second photo captures quite well, the contrasting perspective of living there. History (the walls) are hanging on, yes?

  7. Thanks so much Melinda! Indeed it is hard to walk by that homemade box without dropping something in.
    Yes, history and the cultural heritage are hanging on quite well here, both the charm and frustration of it. That heritage includes the fact that the forefathers of many who live here now were brought here in chains and bought and sold as property. Just as the neighborhoods now bear the names of the old slave-owner plantations, the people still carry some of what happened here in their family stories and in their bodies’ memories and their genes. It is no wonder the philosophy and worldview might be different from what those of us from the mainland hold to. That’s always something to consider when the frustration threatens to boil over.

  8. Wonderful.
    That second image is fascinating…and I couldn’t help but think that must be the truck going to Bonnie’s house to deliver art supplies…

  9. Hi Jala, and thanks! That’s an interesting image because of all the layers of ruins and old structures. I think Mr. FedEx had already made the delivery at Bonnie’s, and is travelling with a much lighter load now!

  10. After spending years in third world countries, it always amazes me how we in the affluent “west” are so keen to pamper animals when there are so many people in dire straights all around the world.

  11. It’s the truth, razzbuffnik. And you have been to many places where the poor and disposessed cannot be missed. It is a sign of the affluents’ blindness to inequality in the world.

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