Isbel Diaz Torres
HAVANA TIMES — My favorite ceiba tree died because of a doctor’s office that’s now falling apart. Every day I see how the facility i losing a window or watch a piece of roofing falling off – without the San Agustín community lifting a finger to save it.
This is when I look to the side and see the cadaver of my old ceiba tree, now reduced to ashes by the arsonists on the block. This is when I recall the injustice of its murder, now more unjustified than ever.
That legendary tree was cut down at the request of the doctor of the family clinic. She and her husband were afraid that one day one of the heavy branches of that giant ceiba — full of vigor — might fall on the office and destroy it.
The mighty tree was pruned down to the point of leaving it like an obelisk. First they cut the branch that was suspended over the office, after which they cut off the one on the other side, for balance, then another and another. All of them came down with a huge crash, all in order to save the building.
The ceiba never hurt that little two story building; nevertheless, the office is now destroyed.
The work of hundreds of years of nature was changed for this mediocre structure, with its carbon-copy design and the community lacking any sense of ownership.
Of course it was about four years ago that the doctor and her husband were reassigned and left the office. Both of them had studied with me in elementary school. Roberto (the husband) was my friend and sat beside me in class. We were model students.
The doctor had also been in my class. She was a very intelligent but fragile girl, with thick glasses. My friends from elementary school killed the ceiba of my life, only later to leave and abandon the place that they were supposedly protecting. That was terrible, don’t you agree?
No one knows who built this clinic. People remember that it was one of those marathon projects of the revolution, constructed sometime around 1985. That was when they began building these structures everywhere, in a big hurry so that they would be completed by July 26. In this way they could “present them to Fidel on his ‘birthday.’” Simply for that reason.
Anyway…after the doctor and her husband left, the vice president of the Popular Council of St. Augustine, moved in along with his family. They lived there for over two years. He’s a guy who’s unknown to everyone since he’s not originally from the neighborhood.
When he left, the home/office just sat there. People who needed it weren’t allowed to fix it up so that they could live there. They had to simply stand by and watch how people were slowly stealing the doors, windows, the toilet, sink, light fixtures, electrical outlets and everything else.
I went in to take some pictures of how it looks these days; it was the day after the roof collapsed. I could have been the victim of an accident, but fortunately that didn’t happen.
My ceiba died so that today we would have this potential garbage dump in the middle of the park. The office is a potential pile of rubble now. The people of the community walk by, take a look, and wander on their way.
Photos by Isbel Diaz Torres