To observe the ritual in which my fresh catch is brought from sea to table is gratifying, we were all linked here not just to make a living, but to savor life. It made me feel just about as close to the food I serve as possible, until a recent trip to Dangriga to drop off some guests at the airport.
That's when another link in our intertwined lives near the sea revealed itself. When driving into town, over the 1st bridge, I looked up the river to see a gentleman, Mr. Fred Martinez, sitting in a partialy built dugout patiently chiseling the log which would later become the dugout. Another step in the process of catching fish, as the Garifuna have done for years. I will return to talk to Mr. Martinez as he was just one of those people I am drawn to. I asked him if I could photograph him and how long it took to build a large dugout like the one on which he was working.
He said yes I could take his picture if he could get a print to which I agreed readily.
How long would he be there working on the canoe?
About a month, and I'll be back. I printed him a copy and returned the next day to find Fred off at lunch somewhere, his chisel lay idle in the bottom of the canoe. I just stood there awhile, thinking of the canoe the old man had paddled out in the previous morning and thought about the lines that would lay in the bottom of this working boat, palmetto leaves and cast net at the ready. I must have been a sight to the Dangriga locals as I stood looking at a transformation ..from log to boat.....but I felt lucky to witness what is sure to become a dying art.
Since I had laminated the 8 X 10 glossy for him, I left it under his chisel and departed without seeing him, but I know he will be happy with his photo and I'll be back to take more.......You'd better Belize It!