The Taino Tradition of Generosity Lives in Arizona

Flagstaff, Arizona (UCTP Taino News) - Desire Caballer, a Borikén Taino of the Guainia Tribal community, lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, and began organizing to assist homeless persons in her area in June of this year. Her volunteer efforts have grown from a personal initiative, to receiving food, clothing, and toiletries donations from others; bringing her interactions with Flagstaff’s homeless community up to 3 times per week. 

Desire was inspired to make a difference after seeing a homeless teenager begging on the street for money. The scene touched her personally, as she also experienced life on the streets of Phoenix as a teen before being taken in by a concerned family who treated her as their own child. Once she was able to secure employment, the family urged her to get her on place, which she did. Today, she is married and has two beautiful children, a son - Pedro - and a daughter - Katrina. She really “wanted to give back” and her husband, Lorenzo Lee, and children are supporting her initiative with the area’s homeless. 

Katrina Caballer,  Desire Caballer, and Lorenzo Lee documenting their work in Flagstaff
“All the people [I meet on the streets] have different stories,” stated Desire, who does not have a non-for-profit, is on a fixed income, and is dealing with her own personal health issues. She continued stating, “I believe that we all need not to judge, instead we need to learn how to help, love, care, and give.” When Columbus encountered Taino People throughout in the Caribbean, he continuously remarked on their generous nature. While history is clear on Columbus’ response to this generosity, Desire Caballer is proof that the traditional Taino spirit of giving still lives among contemporary Taino people living far from their island homelands. 

 UCTPTN 10.22.2014

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