Here I am sitting in our little, but increasingly well-equipped room, staring past the screen out of the window towards the East where the virgin rainforest has not yet had to yield too much to large scale logging for urban settlements, roads or resource extraction. Right near the window, however, at least three concrete houses are being expanded skywards. I wonder whether this room will have the same view a year from now.
This is not a place for concrete houses with tin roofs. It seems so strange that anyone would have thought it to be a good idea. Moss and mould covers most walls after a very short time, and without ever having experienced it at great length I miss the roof of palm leaves over my head that helps circulate rather than trap the indoors atmosphere.
It is almost six in the evening and the light is dimming. It all happens very fast at this time of day, suddenly it is night. Just as sudden, it is bright in the mornings, not much dwelling on the ambiguities sunlight can afford at the higher latitudes. “Twi” basically does not exist around here.
I am drinking rum. I’ve decided it would be best to become either a subliminal alcoholic or a smoker. I can hardly stand myself straight anymore, and the edge of life is ever so slightly increased here – just so much that existence seems infinitely more bearable when under the faint, but undeniable influence of mood-altering substances.
Rain is arriving. Mostly the drops are big. Much bigger than the usual rain drop in Europe. Things and beings soak quickly, paved roads turn into little streams and then rivers within minutes. But most of the time, clouds empty themselves very quickly, too, and the fallen water vacates the tarmac and travels further towards the oceans via the riverbeds through the forest, leaving the little towns behind sweating and steaming.
Tena strikes me as a picture book frontier town. Everybody seems in constant preparation for the final fulfilment of some long-standing, regularly renewed promise of prosperity and success. Shops selling the same variation of some (frequently useless) merchandise open, move and close with weekly regularity. Food outlets and hotels are ready to cater for the ever-absent hordes of tourists the local government busies itself to attract with great eagerness.
It can’t have always been like that, for the current resolve to close the province for the black gold of oil exploration and open it instead to the green gold of ecotourists was a serious social and political struggle, with many people taking to the roads. But even though the nature of the promised success has changed from black to green, the promise has remained just that – a promise. And so everyone here seems to prepare for some future that might just never take place.
This all fills me with a strange, silent anger. The anger of concrete, tin, plastic and mouldy promises eating their way into the forest, maybe.