What is in my Luggage for this Journey?

I have already listed what I found searching for my mother’s family ancestors and as far as the record goes it’s good news: most of them may have died from old age. It is interesting as I am looking back five hundred years and found that most of my  ‘Salas”relatives must have had a good diet and a healthy environment with little pollution.

When I look at my father’s family I found that they came from the same continent and emigrated to South America in the XVIII-XIX century. They seem to have had a tougher life probably as a result of a music talent in the family handed down through the generations. Everybody knows that musicians have not done well financially until the late XX century. In the past musicians survived if they had a mentor like a royal court or the church. My father’s family arrived to Colombia probably in the most difficult of times, running away from the Napoleonic invasion of Spain. How they survived and still lived from music is a miracle.

My father was a famous violinist that received a German Education in Narino Tumaco in Colombia (not the first place you would expect to find German education, right?) The continuous civil wars in Colombia before and after the Independence of Colombia from Spain were unstoppable. The country was divided by social classes, race and religion and was  stained with the blood from the martyrs of the war of Independence, some of them my mother’s great-great-grandfather’s family. They were executed in 1816 for resisting the Spanish rule: they were Creoles, Spanish born in Colombia that disobeyed to the King of Spain.  They were executed for treason, we regarded them as heroes. Then almost 100 years later the government of Colombia decided to use music to bring peace to the soil. I can’t believe that my father, born in 1910 with his musical talent, was chosen to bring music to his countrymen to pacify Colombia.

I went to Sevilla recently and visited the Archivo the Indias and The Golden Tower by the banks of the Guadalquivir river, where the ships from South America arrived five centuries ago full of gold, silver and precious stones. According to some historians, approximately 300.000.00 Kgs of gold and kgs of silver arrived to Spain in the early days of the conquista. On top of the gold and silver and precious stones, taxation was introduced, heavy to the point that the only option left for the Creoles was a war to the  death, as General Bolivar described it to his comrades.  Neiva, where I was born, was also where the martyrs from my mother’s great-great grandfather were executed. It played a very important role in the war of Independence. The farms that belong to my family and the villages around where so many people gave their life for freedom from Spain have now been reduced to dusty houses on a barren soil hot and inhospitable.

As a child I learnt the history of those years in Colombia. We were always told Spain was broke and was forever increasing the taxes in the colonies of South America to fight more wars. However, in my recent visit to Seville I found out that  a lot of buildings, parks and palaces were built in Seville in the XIX. So it doesn’t look like Spain was so short of money!!!  As I write this story tears roll down my face. I can’t stop myself from feeling the pain of what happened centuries ago? It is weird that the memory of pain and suffering is timeless. Perhaps it is imprinted in my DNA in my genes.

My father’s family’s genes carried defects leading to Heart Disease, Obesity, Diabetes Type II, Hypertension. All these defects were carried in dormant genes that would need to be triggered by the environment to have an effect. Colombia was ravaged by the worst civil war ever from 1899-1902. It must have been very difficult for the family to survive. The good news for me is that because these diseases are only triggered by the environment, they can be controlled by changes in lifestyle, in nutrition and through managing stress.  In spite of my father’s  successful career in the early XX century as a classical musician, a first violin, he worked very hard to raise a family. Sadly, his life was cut short by a road accident at just 57 years of age (after having 11 children!) My mother, who had good genes, became a widow at age 41 and left alone with this big family (normal in those days). The stress was more than enough to trigger her early departure from this world at just age 51. I must say she was extremely lucky to have her parents and extended family and the finances left by my father to support her and her family.


Mother’s side                                              Father’s side

Longevity,                                                    Obesity

Energy                                                          Diabetes type II

Survivors                                                     Hypertension, Heart Disease

Most died of all age XX                            Some didn’t make it to old Age

With this amount of clinical data I can more or less work out what is going to happen to me. I didn’t have most of this information until recently so it seems that instinctively I have always look after myself perhaps from my good genes that help me to bear stress, to cope with challenges innovation, to keep re-inventing my life as I wait for God.


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