Saturday, February 28, 2009

There is no doubt these people are very special people. You can't meet one of them and not be drawn by their charisma. This family has been taught to dream and feel life as it happens around them. They have lived on the side of the Rio Cangrejal for near to 20 years.

Jose Angel was drawn to the river one night from the nearby department on Colon. With him was his son, some fishing gear and a couple of his fishing/drinking buddies. They made their way from Colon to the Rio Cangrejal in a rickity old car and when they reached the river they could only drive maybe a mile before they had to get out and walk up the river banks.

5 year old, Darwin sat on the side of the river staring at his father in horror as Jose Angel and his friends jumped into the white water. He was certain they would get swept away into the sea. It was the middle of the night and he was cold, hungry and very uncertain. To his suprise, Jose Angel was not swept downriver and instead emerged from the water with giant crabs and frehswater fish. They built a fire right there on the rocks and feasted. Darwin, with his belly full, fell asleep to the sounds of the river.

I began meeting the Saravia family they first time I went to the jungle. Darwin, the handsome and incredibly charming rafting guide, drew out my idealism and happiness again after a rough year when I thought I truely had no more idealism left. I have yet to meet someone who lives so at the perimeters of what is my traditional and cultural norm. He is moved by inpiration; his family, the weight of the river, the breeze in the trees. He is ever present in the moment, lives with little responsibility and no regrets.

Since meeting Darwin I have come to find the apple does not fall far from the tree. I have spent the past month going up to the river in the days but not to the Jungle River Lodge. Instead I found myself swinging leisurley in one of the hammocks en la casa en la casa de Jose Angel. This family is creating a riverside palace of tree houses and arts and crafts. Ideas are tossed around and fantastical stories are told. Yesterday we had a perfectly reasonable conversation about the exsistance of a blood sucking animal in the jungle, a relation of the vampire of course. With a glint in his eye, Jose Angel said that I should be exspecially careful because they really liked light skinned guapas.

They are enterprising. All hands are occupied as they create wooden sculptures. All of the children of Jose Angel (in order of apperence in this world: Darwin, Nolberto, Pedro, Ana, Dania, Franklin, Tania) have a hand in the business. Darwin and Pedro are currently building a new tree house. Tania and Franklin are the sanders, Pedro carvers, Dania makes bracelets and necklaces with the help of Tania and Ana. Nolberto has helped build the tienda to sell the goods. Jose Angel is the business man, making trips to La Ceiba to aquire materials and marketing the souveniers to tourist shops.

Yesterday, as he was building the foundation of the newest treehouse, Darwin filled me up with his big dreams. Tipico restaurant for passerbyers, souvenirs made by the family, kayak school, spanish school, camping on the banks of the cangrejal, all thw while embracing their river culture and family tradition. Their hospitality and ability to dream big will make them succeed.

1 comment:

Elaine H. said...

Maybe this is what life is supposed to be like. Grounded. Flowing like the river. Not busy busy busy.