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Mario and Maria

When he reached high school age he had to build his own sailboat to sail across the channel to the mainland as there was no high school on the island then. The sail he constructed from sewn together rice bags, and in the years that he made the weekly trip back and forth he never once flipped over. Sometimes his father, the lighthousekeeper, would keep him from going because of bad weather, and then he missed schoo. His great-grandfather was the first settler on the island, and almost all the land belongs to his descendants.

Now, he has seen a good many of us. He must have dual perspectives--to know us and know himself when we can never know him. We all just have our cultural sensitivities and bend over backwards to be "understanding." He spoke of when they used to dynamite fish, with no judgment in his voice, though he has become such a proponent of sustainable management and environmental education. The tone is different from Galapagos Maria's who, despite her utopian vision, displayed an edge of cynicism and severity in everything she said. She was a fighter who cared too much. You couldn't see her shrugging her shoulders--she'd find a way, and it'd be likely against societal norms, which would only reinforce the cynic and fighter in her. They are two of the most generous people I've ever met.

These are people finding a way to live their lives thoughtfully. Sometimes it's a bitter, joyful struggle (Maria), and sometimes it's a spark turned into a flame (Mario). I, too, am trying to live thoughtfully. Much to learn. Much yet left to imagine.

Posted by chschen 17:00 Archived in Philippines

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