Colombia and Colombians: Introductory Comments

Colombians are New-World Americans. They live on the best part of the far north of South America.

Colombians are largely of Spanish heritage and they speak Spanish. When you intend to visit Colombia, it may contribute to your pleasure to be prepared to deal with them in their own language.

Have an oral translation app on your iPhone or a bilingual friend with you. You might take a Spanish class where you live or sign up for some classes here. All the biggest and more important tourist cities have language schools available. It is also possible ti make your first visit a guided tour.

If you are making realistic plans for a visit, investigate getting a correct chip for your mobile phone. It may be that your phone won't work here without a change of chips. There are smart phones available here, but you may find them expensive. However, you can, with some care, buy an ordinary mobile phone and have it set up nicely for you at a reasonable price.

In many parts of the major cities and tourist areas you can find pleasing places to eat and sleep and you will also may be able to find a Colombian able to speak in your language or in English.

Enough about you.

This is supposed to be the introduction to a series of tiny essays about Colombia and Colombians. But first a few words about me.

I am an old American citizen who has lived in Colombia among Colombians for some time. Some have said to me, "You have lived here for a long time. Why haven't you written more about Colombia?" and "Why don't you write about Colombia?" and like that. So, instead of thinking of an answer I thought, "Why not?" I can note some of my observations and maybe even something about what I make of a couple of them.

More to come.

 

by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill III

 

 

 


Mago Bill

I post a lot about Mago Bill. The following may help you to know why.

Mago Bill is a nickname I have given my paternal great grandfather. I have used the name Mago Bill for recent Blogs and in not so recent posts. I have done that because I believe that it inspires me to present you with more unusual and interesting backstories and histories in a variety of posts.

My sister, the genealogist of our family, introduced me to the existence of documentation of the life of M.William Sheehan. His existence had been unknown to us. We had not known his name or that he had been our paternal great grandfather. As I remember, my sister showed me that, he had been in the far south of Ireland and that he had immigrated to America when very young. We soon discovered that the initial, "M." In his name probably stood for Mago, a name not popular in the U.S. To me he promptly became Mago Bill, my inspiration.

Spanish speaking friends tell me that mago means magician in Spanish. Some of those friends tell me that "the three kings" or "the three wise men" who brought gifts to the infant Jesus were called magos. However, I have read that Mago was an important family name among the Carthaginian Phoenicians before Rome came of age and that later some of that family knew Hannibal.

Carthaginian traders and navigators came to Ireland to trade for tin and other precious metals. The brought so much knowledge of of the name Mago with them that it impress some of the people there. Seems inspiring to me. I tend to romanticize a bit.

About me. I am an old U.S. citizen living in Colombia.

You may expect future posts here to be short "essays" to deal with: citizenship, the USA, Ireland, Colombia, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Spain, Mago Bill and a lot more that I like to call culture

 


When We Are Willing to Talk

A new U.S. farm bill comes along every five years or so and I am yet to witness a national dialogue or debate on it. Farm bills not only affect our national debt, but also what we eat and how much it costs. They determine the price of rice in Vietnam and the price of corn in Mexico.They make up our strategy for feeding ourselves. We, as a people, do not take time to talk about them!

Most of us, including our legislators, consider them boring, incomprehensible, and unimportant.

We don't have to be this way. We can educate ourselves. We can create bills that are much easier to understand and we talk-over the issues and our policy. When we find the bills easier to understand we will find them more interesting. As a result we may find ourselves giving our children a better chance to eat well.  

Our farm bill is important. We can benefit, for example, by putting our agricultural policy in better alignment with our health needs and our environmental needs. When we car enough we could make it easier to feed ourselves and our children higher quality fresh food with less poisons added. We could make sure that our farmers got fairer prices and fewer distorting subsidies.

When we get willing to talk with one another we can get our issues on the table where we can look them over.

Among people who are not slaves, it seems important to expand the circle of citizens who decide how we shall get the food we need and want.

Thanks to Michael for his inspiration.

 

by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill


Taoist Quotes

I find something attractive about a philosopher who laughs with me. You may too. You may also enjoy some of the later Taoist writers. Much of their writing is witty and accessible. Much is wise and useful.

Here are the English translations of a few of their sayings:

+ Accept the reality of the available freedom.

+ Easy does it.

+ Attend to your energy reserve.

+ No regrets.

+ Set your burden down and enjoy the water.

+ The door is not locked.

+ Peacefully rejoice in reality.

+ Know the joyful security of wandering where there is no path.

+Enjoy your wit and romantic adventures.

+ Is it really so.

+ Great knowledge and long life.

+ Be little moved by praise and blame.

+ Discriminate.

+ Be clear about the the nature of honor and discrace.

+ Small self, little vanity.

+ Know the rule without ruling.

+ know you.

+ Be willing to know the quality of your perception.

+ Let go of the clutter and the trivia.

+Nothing is useless.

+ All is useful.

+ As you smell the roses , hear the music.

+ As you speak, be aware of how little you know.

+ Nothing depends on your point of view.

+ Your opinion is changing this instant.

+ Let them be.

+ How can we understand it all in one day.

+ Clarify your understanding today.

+ Embrace reality.

 

What do they all mean. Seems that's up to us now. Try reading them again. One might serve you well today.

 

 

by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill