Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Kahkabila and the Black Pearl

But not the black pearl you're thinking of. This Black Pearl is a Panga that seats 20. During our CO's visit we had arranged to work the Miskito community of Kahkabila, the closest of our boat territories. In addition to covering the territory we had planned to hold a meeting at the community center and show a video to any that showed up. Of course, for this trip we wanted to bring the entire congregation, but our boat is not big enough. So we decided to hire two of the commercial Pangas that do the Pearl Lagoon to Bluefields route, one of which is named "The Black Pearl".

Meeting for field service at the wharf
Boarding the Black Pearl
Unfortunately when the time came for us to head out to Kahkabila, only one of the boats we had hired was present. No one was particularly surprised, as this kind of thing is a common occurrence in Pearl Lagoon. It worked out well for the owners of the Pearl, because they got to make two trips and receive the payment agreed upon for the second boat in addition to their own.

Showing the Video
We were able to cover all of Kahkabila before noon, and then met for lunch by the wharf. After makings few return visits we gathered at the community center to show the video. The bright sunlight was a bit of a problem, as no one could see the video from the projector, so the brothers went and borrowed an old TV from someone in the community and set it up to show the video "Warning examples for our day" in English. Miskito people in this area tend to understand English quite well, though I suspect there were a few phrases they would have struggled with. In general the audience seemed to enjoy the video. I'm not sure on the actual attendance but it was somewhere around 64, and I believe that is not including the Pearl Lagoon Congregation.

On the Pearl
The advantage to hiring a larger boat is that with their powerful engine the normally 30 minutes to 1 hour trip only took 10 minutes, unfortunately it was a 10 minutes to remember. I would describe the ride as being somewhere between a rodeo and a roller coaster. We were a little beat up by the end of the day, especially those sitting in the front of the boat, I think mostly because of the lagoon being rough, and partly the madness of the driver. But as always, it was worth it.


San Vicente

 A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being on one of our more interesting boat trips. What was supposed to be a short stop in San Vicente turned into quite the adventure. San Vicente is a very small community on the lagoon, not far from Pearl Lagoon itself, there are maybe 10 houses. It is a quiet and beautiful little town, no roads, no electricity. As far as we could tell people here live off the land.

As we worked the community however some of the locals informed us that there was another community further from the shore, that is, in the middle of the jungle. There was a small path visible through the bush, and some of the locals told us it was roughly an hour walk. The weather was excellent so we decided that this was the perfect opportunity to try and reach this community, so we got our things together and started walking.


The brush quickly became thicker and thicker, and soon enough we could no longer see the sky through the canopy of trees. We started putting pieces of toilet paper on branches to mark our path, although the path stayed fairly defined the entire trip so it ended up being an unnecessary precaution. We passed a few people a long the way, mostly on horseback and they kept assuring us that we were going the right way to reach the town called Esperanza.



After about 1 hour we finally reached a group of farm houses. We suspected that we were near Esperanza but the owners informed us that it was still another 2 hours ahead (At this point it dawned on us that no one has clocks or watches here because there is no electricity). Seeing as we still had planned to go to Orinoco the same day, time did not permit us to continue. Also we hadn't brought our lunches and were getting hungry. So we spent the rest of the morning with the people at these farms, who warmly welcomed us and showed great interest, we studied with everyone we met. Interestingly many of them spoke English creole like in pearl lagoon, however with a notably different accent. They used words such as “loan” to mean “many” and other phrases common in Belize Kriol that are not used in Pearl Lagoon or Bluefields. I found this particularly interesting because these people had never been to Pearl Lagoon, they had never gone to Bluefields. The people we were speaking to had lived their entire lives in this tiny collection of houses and farms in the middle of the rainforest. Still, they knew of the bible and were very eager to learn more. We got phone numbers of some of the people, and to this day I have not figured out how they manage to charge their cellphones. Or how they got cellphones in the first place.

After we made it back to the boat (with mud up to our knees) we had our lunch on the shore and head to Orinoco. There was just enough time for us to make a few return visits from previous boat trips. I was able to leave some literature with a local pastor who enjoyed using our literature. Hopefully he will now have an “updated understanding”


In the end it was a short trip, only one day and we made it back before sunset, but it felt like we accomplished more than we normally would in a week. To my knowledge Esperanza has not yet been reached, but on the way back we spoke to some of the people in San Vicente and they offered to lead us there on horseback on a future visit.

October 2, 2018

We spent a whole three months in Pearl Lagoon, our plan was to stay there much longer. At least a year was our idea. We kept ourselves busy ...