My name is Carlos Javier Torres Sáez , also or better known as "Tato Torres" or "TatoBrujo ". I am a Puerto Rican Cultural Agent, Community Activist & Recovering Anthropologist, recently repatriated to Puerto Rico after 25+ years of residence & activity in New York City.
For the last two decades, I have labored as an independent traditional artist/musician & professional consultant in the fields of language, entertainment, production, P.R./marketing, social media, and community/cultural affairs. Since my return and re-settlement in Puerto Rico, I have continued my life-time mission of commitment & dedication to active cultural & community engagement & organizing at the hyper-local grass roots level. And since my return I have also dedicated my self to traditional sustainable farming & growing most of my own food.
In short..., I suddenly find myself without a proper means of transportation and in need of financial support.
Here is the long story:
My general "lifetime-mission" is to empower myself, my family & my Community with the knowledge, tools & understanding needed to become inspired, capable & active members of society; workers, farmers business owners & community leaders collaborating for positive change & self-sustainability. First & foremost, my primary "lifetime-mission" has been to cultivate ancestral wisdom, customs & traditions, which may serve as direct pathways & effective methods towards personal, community and national development & empowerment by functioning as an active & engaged social/cultural agent dedicated to accessing, acquiring & consciously distributing information & resources vital to the cohesion, development & empowerment of self, family & community.
My very-anticipated repatriation was recently unexpectedly pushed forward & accelerated due to serious health concerns with my aging parents living here on the Island. Slightly, over a year ago, during the last serious medical emergency involving my Mother, I literally dropped everything I had going on in NYC (work, residence, life-time projects, etc.) and relocated to be closer to home & my parents.
Needless to say, the current situation here in Puerto Rico is not necessarily "ideal" and the Island is experiencing the worst social, political & financial crisis in its history. And it seems obvious that there is some "master plan" to displace the local native population and gentrify the whole Island. By the very nature of my background, lifestyle & activity, I accept myself to be a conscious & active agent of cultural resistance against any & all forces & intentions to displace & erase Puerto Ricans in general, our history, culture & legacy. I am also conscious about the fact my "against the grain" way of life is in direct conflict with, and in constant friction against the overall plans & desires of any & all indiciduals, agencies, entities & forces at all levels, which benefit or seek to benefit from exploiting Puerto Rico by contributing to & taking advantage of past, current & future crisis. Therefore, personal & community growth, development & success for me and folks like myself here on the Island, is extremely "limited" (to say the least).
The combination of all of my accumulated knowledge, experience & contacts, has made me a fairly known & popular "go-to-guy" & "gate-keeper" for anyone looking to connect or re-connect with Puerto Rican culture, community & general affairs, becoming a sort of highly selective "island concierge", providing personal, custom & tailored travel (visiting/tourism & repatriation/relocation) assistance services to family, friends & "DiaspoRicans" (Puerto Ricans dispersed throughout the World). Using diverse social media platforms and the hashtag #TatoTours , I connect with groups & individuals in need of my main community "services", which include but are not limites to: general advise, translations & interpreting, networking, recommendations, coordinated or guided trips/experiences, etc., to optimize & maximize visits & relocations to Puerto Rico. Another personal project in development is the "Jíbaro Bootcamp" (#JíbaroBootcamp), which is an intensive “training workshop focused on educating & training abled-bodied & minded individuals with a strong interest in traditional & contemporary sustainable agriculture through an unique interactive program focused in real hands-on & interactive experience in the basics of traditional & contemporary Puerto Rican (Jíbaro) agricultural concepts & practices, with the purpose of providing & developing genuine relevant & applicable knowledge & skills focused on healthy, ecological & sustainable family-centered & community-based survival-farming.
My current residence, home-base & center of operations, is a family-owned property called "VISTA MAYÁN " from which I aim to apply my skills & experience combined with available family resources & involvement towards the development of a family-owned & operated agro-eco-tourism micro-enterprise project focused on healthy, ecological & sustainable community-based farming combined with direct farm-to-table culinary & hospitality services. Unfortunately, hurricane María caused serious & severe physical & structural damages to our main facilities & operations. Stock & Crops were loss, damaged or compromised, creating a critical and urgent need to carry out endless necessary clean-up of debris, repairs & reconstruction of physical structures (main building, sheds, chicken coups, etc.), plant beds & fields and irrigation systems, not to mention that we were without electrical power for 6 months & 7 days since the storm. Due to the recent events & current conditions, this agro-eco-tourism project has been temporarily interrupted.
Great ideas, noble causes & good intentions are not often enough to stay the course & succeed. And I am battling against both anticipated & unexpected odds & obstacles. After relocating to Puerto Rico, I have quickly come to experience first-hand and accept that corruption is unfortunately deeply ingrained within all aspects of Puerto Rican society and thus, without "selling out", social & financial success & mobility are adversely conditioned & affected by this ever-resent malaise.
As if all of the already stated wasn't enough, and just when I thought that things couldn't get worst than a category 5 hurricane, a corrupt & abusive colonial ", a dictatorial fiscal control board, or "Mercury in retrograde"...., I recently suffered a serious car accident in which my car & only available mode of ground transportation, was severely damaged & very possibly totaled. I am lucky and greatful to be alive and the experience has actually inspired & motivated me to more than ever, continue with my mission.
All that being said, it is extemely dificult to get around Puerto Rico without a vehicle, and carrying out any "mission", especially one to continue facilitating personal & community development & empowerment projects, is practically impossible... Therefore, at the suggestion & insistence of friends & fellow community members, I am using this gofundme campaign so generously set-upfor me, in order to raise funds to cover repairs, pay off &/or buy a new vehicle, seek alternative means of ground transportation and/or other transpo- related costs & expenses, in order to continue carrying out my "lifetime-mission".
In a way, I guess that what I am proposing is a sort of "community-supported activism", counting on direct involvement/investment from those who may value & appreciate what I do & wish to actively contribute to this "lifetime-mission" of mine.
- Hector Bonilla Agosto
- Desseree Soto
- Michael Rojas
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