Saturday, October 11

Fishermen of Boca del Rio

Doug, Ladis and Ladis’s brother Guedo went out shrimping. They left at 5 a.m. At 9 p.m. I got a message that they were back at port and ready to come home.

I headed over to Boca to meet the boat, not knowing that the guys still had to empty the nets and descabezar (dehead) the shrimp. For the next hour, they guys plus all the wives pulled shrimp, crabs, small fish, starfish and debris from two 100 meter long nets. Then Mavil and I popped heads and separated the big shrimp from the little. The guys’ final tally was 90 kilos of shrimp – 200 pounds. Wow.

After the first few days, however, the shrimp count dropped drastically. Yesterday’s catch (an 8 hour day) was only 9 kilos for one of our friends. At $10 per kilo, that barely covers the cost of gas.

When he got home the first day, Doug was absolutely beat. Sixteen hours in the blazing sun in a small boat full of dead fish had taken its toll. Over the next week, Ladis and Guedo went out a couple more times, but they struggled with the boat motor a lot. Doug decided that a better (and MUCH less physically draining) use of his time was to do some work he’d been hired to do for an American family here in Las Glorias.

The life of a fisherman here in Boca del Rio is not an easy life. The pescador struggles against his flesh in the daily, back-breaking work of hauling in lines. He struggles with the equipment which is so quickly destroyed by the salt and the water. He struggles with corrupt authorities who steal his profit for their selfish gain. He struggles with the storms that roll in unexpectedly and fish which stray from their normal migration paths and tides which seek to capsize his boat and take his life. With these conflicts day after day, many men turn to alcohol and drugs as a sedative or a pain-reliever. Our prayer is that the men of Boca who are believers would be able to shine out and show a better way to deal with these struggles. Pray that they would not lose heart!

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