Casting for dinner

Casting net in Kahkabila

These kids are no older than 12 or 13, but can cast their nets like the pros twenty years their senior. This is typical daily life in villages like Kahkabila, where the people eat what the jungle and the sea provides.

I once spoke with the village leader, a middle-aged Miskito indian the locals call Daisheen, about what life was like “in the old days”. He said that his grandparents lived to be 115, and they died in a fishing accident, not because of age! Back then they only had what the land gave them and life was different. Then the missionaries came, made them put on clothes, learn to speak English, cook with oil and eat sugar. Now, Thomas says, there are three churches in Kahkabila and he can’t wake up without his coffee. The still eat from the jungle and sea, but now it is fried, sometimes boiled and never roasted. Diabetes is something they had never had to deal with before; now it is a growing concern.

While the onset of western culture is inescapable, the communities still hang on to many of their traditions. The canoe those two boys are in was carved from a single tree. They spoke English to me but Miskito to each other. And they are living off the food the sea provides, just like countless generations of Miskito indians before them.

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