The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 27

between these two times, between these two worlds, eye contact with the present is strictly forbidden.

Once people started paying for the dances, the government decided that a paved road to the Gara Cultural Center was very important, and then an audience member decided that a health clinic was also important. He was a retired doctor who eagerly raised funds for the clinic. It was completed two years ago and not a single Gara has ever walked through the door. The former mainlanders use it all the time.

The Gara understand the medicinal value of every neighboring plant species. The medicine man, the shaman, will heal and the plants will help. One cannot work without the other.

Even though he is an anthropologist, Whitman does not approve of the gifted cultural center. He thinks it is an imposition. We argued about this before he left to go fishing with my father. Whitman was not wearing a shirt.

“What do you think of the new hotel towering over West Side’s hutted storefronts?” I asked.

“It will obviously help with the island’s economy,” he said.

“Then, why can’t the Gara be part of this help?”