Werner Bertch (the photographer who shot the book) is an excellent conversationalist and pulled me into many conversations by using the oldest tricks in the book. First, he correctly identified me as an incessant talker and secondly he remained still and nodded his head. We discussed one of his favorite topics “The people of Aruba.” Out from his collection came various images of people on Aruba and as I was looking at them he said, have you considered doing something about the original Aruban man? That is how it started. After some weeks, the story WHO IS THE ARUBAN MAN? Was finally finished and sent off to be fixed and turned into something. Following are some of the outtakes and notes and thoughts on the process. Included are some original notes.
Who is the Aruban? Is he a direct descendant of the Arawak? Is the Aruban a mixture of Arawak and Carib? Perhaps we should consider the real possibility that the original Aruban was someone else. He just may have been a mixture of various people who came to this place … and with time, became the blend which the Spaniards found…………….
At this point I started to look into the entire ‘Spanish Arrival” issue. Interesting but of no consequence. Keep in mind that they were after gold and heathens. My take on it is that they found Aruba boring.
……. the question of who were the people that wrote on cave walls from the very onset, may be forever unanswered, at least for me…...
That is what got to me. I wanted to know about the hands that touched the cave walls. Were they small people, tall and lanky? How did they get the pigments? All of this is what kept me at it. Then I read about what it is the Dutch chronicled.
…………….they are hardy people who live in small dwellings on this undeveloped island, all the while displaying a sense of dignity. Perhaps this dignity is what makes the natives hospitable. ………..
I kept writing. And then in looking at the current situation I realized that what makes us who we are is our circumstance. Our now. Our today. And I kept on writing.
This mass of people from all parts of the world somehow coexist on this small island. As such, the "fiber" of the community, the individual threads and the woven cloth, is continued with shards of the original somewhere.
After all of that research and digging and buying more books than I should, the question remained unanswered.
Who is the Aruban? Is he Arawak, or maybe a mixture of Arawak and Carib? Perhaps he is a mixture of various people who came to this island, and found peace here. This is perhaps why they wrote on our cave walls. I don’t know what those scribbles mean but would like to think that it translates to: This Is My Island.
It occurs to me that this might make some folks want to find the cave markings. If you do, think of them as a letter from yesterday. It is our "Constitution" It is who we are. Who is the Aruban man? I know, he is a rock wall with pigment and designs and, that man revels in taunting us with his hard held secret. That is who he is.
Out takes on the editors floot Aruba - This is your island
.................... more than a shoreline - more than just faces of coral looking to the sea - the North Coast of Aruba is violent. She is violent and aggressive while still pulling children to make small mountains of stones and parents to walk to the edge where land meets the ocean. It is a place where a creation lies raw at your feet as you look up to a blue sky that is seen not only by you but also by those lolling on the sands of hotels not far away.
Where can this be that I am? How is it possible to for my Lord to have placed such opposites so close to each other? ......................
TO BE CONTINUED ............... WITH OTHER OUT TAKES.