Over the past week Brownie has been giving us his writing words to live by. Those pieces of advice being “Put them in your shoes” and “read the water”. Never in my life have words made more sense to me, than they did today.
Today my buddies and I traveled to a small village called Northeast Bight. On the boat flying towards the shore of a small village, I began to read the water.
We were greeted by a man named Kilaway, the father of our fun loving fishing guide Edwin. I was beginning to understand that this village was much less than an actual village; in all actuality it was congregation of houses on stilts. Even though these people seemed to be at the time so impoverished I was initially greeted with an ear-to-ear smile from Kiloway who seemed to be the happiest man alive, and indeed he was.
After the work we did for the mangrove restoration project, where we worked with a guy named Manuel, who has arguably the best mullet I have ever seen, we were invited to Edwin’s house for lunch. We journeyed to the back porch, which only took about 10 steps, in order to be served our delicious lunch. While other people were being served I took a step out on to the dock, only to be greeted once again by the ear-to-ear smile of Kiloway paddling his dugout canoe forged from a tree. While watching Kiloway, Noah Thompson, our older fishing mentor, walked up to me and told me that it took Kiloway 5 years to forge his dugout out of a dead tree. Noah also steered my vision to the left, and pointed out a large boat that to the average American would look like a broken old piece of lumber, but then Noah told me it took Kiloway 30 years to hand craft that boat from a tree. Now that just took me by surprise, I’m only 16; I haven’t been alive for that long. And sure haven’t done anything like that in my life.
After finishing up our work with Manuel on the beach, we drove away from the small village of Northeast Bight. I began to reminisce on my experience, I put myself in the shoes, or lack their of, of Kiloway. He spent about half of his life slaving over a boat that in America would be considered nothing more than a relic. That fact alone brought me into deep pensive thoughts. I come from a part of the world where people, including me, take so many things for granted, while other people work so hard for things we would dismiss as trash. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure . . . I now know the meaning of this old phrase. I was shocked at how I could just receive things and not know how they got there. Now I have developed a respect for how things so simple as a 5-foot dugout canoe could take a man many years to make. After my experiences today I won’t take so many things for granted.