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Thoughts on Aruba

Feb 17, 2015: The Ayo and Casibari rock formations here in Aruba are stunning, monolithic boulders and rocks which time and the elements have molded into smooth unusual shapes. However, what fascinated me most were 1500 year old native Arawak rock paintings. The Caquetio people of the Arawak tribe from the South American mainland were Aruba’s first inhabitants. Later we drove uphill to see the Alto Vista Chapel. The chapel was built in 1952, designed by Dutch engineer J.A. Hille, on the site of the first Catholic church built in Aruba in 1750 by a Spanish missionary, Domingo Antonio Silvestre. The chapel is beautifully simple and its location, on top of a hill, perfect for quiet contemplation. Yet i could not help but think of how the business of conversion took place here, a long time ago. I’ve just finished reading Laila Lalami’s “The Moor’s Account” a gem of a book for it tells the story of the Spanish colonization of the Americas but from the intriguing perspective of a conquistador’s Moroccan slave. One of the book’s tremendous achievements is a vivid description of and familiarization with the Americas’ native populations, in all their glorious diversity and complexity. I know that Aruba is a Dutch colony. How does that happen…

alto vista chapel, aruba

alto vista chapel, aruba

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