I visited Mancora at the beginning of September 2022 and stayed there for a whole month. Mancora is a small place in the North-West of Peru, well-known for attracting surfers and tourists who want sea, sun and some fun. I live right on the beach at my wonderful hotel, the Mancora Beach House. It is literally right on the beach, and I feel super lucky because it gives me a panoramic view of the sea and full access to the wildlife. I have seen whales, sea lions, and countless different species of birds, both dead and alive. The other day a group of dolphins swam right in front of the house, but unfortunately, I didn’t see them. It is buzzing with life here, and I feel nature’s presence (that I am a part of) everywhere.I am in awe of its power. Living this close to the ocean is an extraordinary experience. The constant sound of waves can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you are woken by it at night, which happened to me.
“Is it a Tsunami?” I had to go out and check. No, there was no Tsunami; only the high tide pulled by the full moon and the mighty waves hitting the terrace. I ended up sitting out there watching the big waves.
“We humans are so powerless against the forces of nature” was the thought that struck me in the darkness of the night.
“Can the terrace collapse?” I asked Robert the next day. Robert is the Australian hotel owner.
“The big waves take the stones with them and when they are taken the building sinks. We have to fill the holes with new stones so that the terrace does not sink. When the waves are this big, it requires extra attention. In the coming nights, I have to pay extra attention. I have also ordered smaller stones. I will use them to fill the gaps between the large stones. I also have to fill bags with sand and cover the area around here to avoid erosion.” he said.
“Did this happen last night?” I asked, pointing to the debris that lay right by his terrace.
“No. We once had a park here. But it collapsed. This is due to two things. The sea, and man-made erosion. When people need sand, they come here and take it from the beach. Many do not realize that their actions have consequences. It creates erosion.”
His answer made me think of the other phenomena I have observed every day since my arrival. It was one of the first things I noticed; men who spent hours tying together wooden barrels to fix a Raft. It somehow reminded me of a Kontiki raft.
“What will they use it for?” I thought as I watched the work.
I discovered the answer in the early morning hours the following day. The Raft met a larger boat a little further out and later returned with black garbage bags.
“What’s in those bags?” I asked Robert.
“Shrimp. The large fishing boats have a license and can sell a certain quota of fish. Whatever is over their quota, they sell on to these guys.”
“So illegal fishing then? And who are these guys?”
I noticed that “these guys” had each a specific role. There were the boss or several bosses. It was easy to recognize them. They usually stood in the corner with their arms crossed, watching the workers. And then, there were the two guys who paddled to the boats, received the bags, and returned with them. Back on the beach, there was a group of young Venezuelan boys. They were the ones who carried the filled bags from the water to the vehicles. And when Robert told me that this gig is their full-time job, I thought they could not be earning much considering the low wages here in Peru. The average salary is about 1100 soles, which corresponds to NOK 2,994. A salary that does not leave much for exploration or travel. But wealth comes in many forms, right? And why am I babbling about all this?
Yes, the idea for the blog post appeared one early morning after several nights of being awake. First, by loud music, and then by the Venezuelan guys. Their workplace is right next to my bedroom. So one morning, after getting the green light from Robert, I decided to go out and talk with them. My appearance silenced the boys—all of them staring at me.
“Hablando Anglais?” I asked.
So I went all in with body language and a clear tone. I pointed to where I was staying and the walls of the Mancora Beach House; and said; this is a hotel, and people are sleeping. All explained with a theatrical mimic. And then, I asked if they could lower their voices and ended it with “Por favor,” which means please in Spanish.
They listened; one repeatedly nodded with a serious face. And another winked at me as I talked and smiled mockingly. ” That one doesn’t take me seriously at all,” I thought, he was reeking passive aggressiveness. When I returned to the hotel, they kept quiet for 5 minutes, but soon they were once again chattering and laughing loudly.
“Did they forget or do they just not give a damn?” I wondered. Meeting them, especially the one who winked, led me to a profound chain of thoughts.
Why should those guys listen to me, a traveling tourist? How much freedom do they experience in their new lives as foreigners? Perhaps these morning gatherings are the highlight of their day, a sort of street therapy, helping them to forget the misery they have fallen into due to the political situation in their bankrupt homeland, Venezuela.
That, in turn, got me to the illegal catch, the prawns. And from there, my mind wandered off to the sand, which again took me to our human consumption. And I thought of our predation on nature and how we humans relate to life and each other. And it made me wonder;
Is change possible with such a skewed distribution of resources on earth?
And how can we moralize and talk about principles when we are so far away from each other’s realities and there is such a massive gap between rich and poor?
And in my simple mind, I saw change coming when humans realize that:
1. We are one BIG human family
2. Everything is connected.
But until we get there, we continue to take the sand and the shrimp.
You can also visit my website and book an online coaching, sound, or body movement therapy session with me. If you have any questions about my services, please do not hesitate to email me. I promise I will not spam, sell, or inappropriately use your email address.
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