They say that when the wall fell and the two Germanys united, people coming from the east had never eaten a banana. They looked ecstatically at the long fruit that the disrupted markets of East Germany hadn’t sold in all the years of the centrally planned economy. I imagine that trying the sweet mass of a banana had to be like tasting the end of a system that lasted fifty years. Between these two “flavors” I would prefer experiencing the second because the other has been on my table since I was little.
The banana was—next to the orange—one of the basic fruits in our house, long before the Germans knew of its existence. We Cubans don’t have a wall to knock down by biting its upright consistency, but we owe it to the banana that our nourishment in the nineties wasn’t more frugal. “Fufu,” made with plantains mashed with pork rinds, was for weeks the only food for my adolescent body. As a beneficiary of its virtues I’d like to erect a monument, although to do so we’d have to import an example from Costa Rica to use as model for the much-deserved statue.
I haven’t seen a banana since last September when hurricanes ravaged the plantations. I refuse to believe that after having survived the disastrous agricultural plans and the unfortunate genetic crossings, we are going to lose it now. This fruit, which managed to overcome the experiments of the Great Farmer in Chief, can’t be allowed to die at the hands of a couple of cyclones. I fear that we—like the people of Berlin in 1989—are on the verge of running anxiously after the taste of banana.