About a piglet from Cuba which triggered changes

Listen my dears, my vegetarian adventure is not something I was born with. It is not something I was taught at home, nor something I figured out easily at an early age. I was a regular kid who, as the vast majority of kids in the western world, was fed with unhealthy food, meat, fish and dairy, and found it perfectly normal.

My little awakening and first glimpse of awareness occurred a couple of years ago, around 2012, though I wasn’t able to recognize it back then. I understood it much later, already after quitting meat. I was visiting Cuba with my wife, and as a genuine carnivore I couldn’t imagine a meal without meat. I took every opportunity to eat meat, everywhere, anytime, no matter sanitary conditions. All over the world, be it Central America or South-East Asia, it made no difference for me. I would like to make a small digression here (there will be more of these thanks to my unfocused mind which shows in my writing). This trip to Cuba posed a problem to me because it felt as if, by going there, we wanted to see an open-air museum, the remainings of communism that were still there as long as Fidel lived, and would surely collapse right after his death. And by doing that, we were legitimising that sick system, we were supporting the authoritarian government oppressing Cuban people. It didn’t feel right and something within me wanted to protest. I saw that stratification of the society: poor and wealthy people, two different currencies, two totally different systems co-existing one next to another, together but apart. But I did finally go.

We landed in Havana and started our three-week-long road trip in the western part of the island, on a plantation of tobacco in the region of Vinales. One sunny day we sat down in the patio of a local cafĂ©, nearby a medical centre. We could see from above a small field on which a small lovely piglet was running around, which is what you see in the picture. My wife was there with me. She is nor vegan nor vegetarian, but she was never eating much meat. For years she was trying to convince me to eat more healthy food like vegetables and fruit and less meat. I was, of course, practising active resistance thinking it was just her whim. One needs to grow up to understand certain things. That day she said something that triggered the process of changing my values. She said something like that: “Look what a lovely piglet. Maybe you will eat her for your next dinner”. That day I ordered pork indeed. Listen, I felt as if someone banged me on the head. Also because I was a grown up, rather smart, who never up to that point did connect the dots that in order for me to eat meat on my plate, an animal must be killed. It was painful. Traumatic.

I don’t remember now if I managed to eat that meal or not. But I know it was the moment everything started. I thank my wife, I thank that Pig, I thank my spiritual guardians, I thank the world for the bless of that first awakening. Even though it took me a couple of years to become fully vegan and to fully grasp the problem, the seed was planted and it started to sprout back then. Thank you.

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