Enjoying the Rose Fragrance

On the 10th of June the Casasbuenas family launched Leonor Morales Marín’s autobiography. In her book, edited and printed by BLOOK, Leonor is telling her story to her four sons (Juan, Mauricio, Javier and Cutín), to her grand-sons (Alexandra, Leonardo, Paola, Mateo, Laura, Diana Carolina, Pablo and Juan David) and to her great-grandsons (Danilo and Ernesto Pablo). She shares the story on how she lived the last century.

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Cutín (with the Blooks), Leonor Dueñas and Leonor Morales

Being Leonor 88, the family gathering was great for her to connect her main stories and dreams, all along the last century with the main challenges presented in the early 21st century. Through the Blook, she managed to link Herminia (her grand-ma, born in the 19th century with Ernesto Pablo, the youngest from her great-grandsons, born in the 21st century). Anyone present in the room, who wanted to give a comment on the Blook or on her, had to hold a rose.

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Juan holds the rose first

The sons hold the rose first. Juan reminded us that “it becomes quite easy for any of us to forget your own roots. It was interesting to see how our father met our mother at El Tiempo, and very shortly  they decided to start their family“. He liked Cutin’s interview (that became the Blook), and most probably he influenced Leonor’s responses.

 

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Uncle Rubén, Mateo, Mauricio, Milena,2 Juan

Hernán Mauricio said that “yes, the Blook is faihful, but I can recall memories (from Puerto Obaldía, Darién, in Panamá) which are not in the text”.  Well, it’s good to have kept a good memory, but at that time you were not even 4 years old. How can you hold those memories?

Mateo explained that one of the best things that he learned from his grand-parents was to see that there are important elements in life and that you can´t do things halfway.

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María del Rosario, Alexandra, Lucas (holds the rose), Javier, Chelo and Laura

Javier shared his feelings:  He expressed his thanks to Juan Manuel for being our mom’s main support and for helping her during some of her most difficult moments. “It was great to see the decision taken by the Blook’s author and the energy to make it real and concrete. It has been great to see my mom’s capacity to adapt to any new situation. We can see this, happening all the time along her life. She supported our father and decided to support her family and her sons as an important priority in her life. She did her best to make us to grow and to develop ourselves”.

Lucas expressed his love for his great grand-mother. Alexa considered that Leonor helped her and other women to become independent.

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Danilo, Cutín, Javier, Leonor (rose), Leonor and Paola

Leonor Dueñas (same age as the other Leonor) considered  that “we continue to be the same; Leonor Morales keeps her energy and she has managed to combine being an entrepreneur and a house wife; we have felt for each other love and affection“.

 

 

 

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Leonor Dueñas, Leonor Morales and uncle Rubén (holding the rose!)

Well, uncle Rubén was anxious about this gathering. “It has been great to give Leonor something that she deserved. I was with them at El Tiempo, at the time that they met. If I remember well (it’s about seventy years ago!) Leonor was wearing red and she really looked like Little Red Riding Hood“.

 

 

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Esmeralda, Elisa (with the rose) and Diana Carolina

For Esmeralda, having the possibility to read it, it becomes like the possibility for revival of very good memories.

Elisa had met Leonor at the time that she was Cutin’s girlfriend. “On several dimensions I have followed her way of living; it is great to have the Blook with us. I feel very happy for the whole experience”

 

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Chelo, Laura, Mireya, Constanza, Esmeralda and Elisa

María Constanza explained how “it was lovely watching Leonor at her 87, knitting clothing for Danilo and for Ernesto Pablo. Those were the most precious gifts that they could have received upon arrival to this world!” 

 

 

 

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After watching my mom signing Mateo’s Blook and Diana Carolina reading the Epilogue, I was thinking about the beautiful present that my mom has given to all of us. My feeling is that it is important for us to read it in order to think about the challenges that we face in order to get peace in Colombia. The three most important challenges that she presented in her autobiography are:

  •  the struggle for land: she is telling us about the group of campesinos who were defending their lives in my grandparents house, in order to defend their land from some of the richest people who intend to grab it; this fight is not over and we need to find the ways to defend campesinos’ land.
  • gender equality and the rights of women: though it is true that women finally voted in elections and that universities were open for them to study, the reality has shown in the recent months how parts of Colombian society are shocked when we ask for gender equality and fairness in society; if we are building social democracy in Colombia, we are all equal and our rights should be recognised and respected. We need to eliminate Colombia’s inequality between richest and poorest people.
  • Catholicism meeting Zen Buddhism:   my feeling is that at present time Colombia is living some kind of intermediate situation between two extremes: Catholicism lived by our great grand-taunt Herminia (“married to General Juan – old, drunk and a real scoundrel – as she said at the end of the 19th century) and a growing number of Catholics developing their Zen Buddhism here in Colombia, closer to nature and to defend our planet from the impacts of climate change.

My mom ends her book with a haiku that she learned at her school in Ibagué, which is almost impossible to translate:

Levanto los ojos para ver el cielo,

luego los bajo para ver tus ojos

y en tus ojos se duplica el cielo”

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Pictures taken by Juan Diego Santamaría and by Javier Casasbuenas Morales

 

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