Everyday there continues to be something new for us to see, smell, touch, taste or hear in Pearl Lagoon. Although we have been here for almost two months now, there never seems to be a day lacking discovery. One evening two weeks ago, after the first of the heavy rain falls, we heard the emergence of new types of frog sounds. These noises sound like picking a guitar string above the fret board – incredibly beautiful when heard as a chorus of hundreds. Today everyone we encountered on our way to work seemed to be carrying fish home, by the tail, as there must have been a big catch this morning. We now know where the lady with the bucket of fresh fish hangs out should we want to go buy some. The smell of turtle back roasting with spices in the giant sea turtle shell over an open fire, the feel of gelatinous ‘sea blubber’ in our hands as we swim in Awas, and the taste of natural tamarind fresco – these happenings and experiences are, of course, ordinary goings-on for those that live here in this beautiful community, but to us they are still the source of joy, curiosity, laughter and awe.
Along with these unique daily discoveries comes a reminder, every time we step outside our home, of how wonderful the people are. We have seen, over our time here thus far, a marked change in how we are received in the community – curious stares have been replaced by something else entirely. Now, when we go out for a walk we have countless people ‘shout us’ as we walk past. What this means is that you receive a greeting of some kind, whether that be a ‘hello’, an ‘alright’, or a ‘good morning/evening/night’. This is such a wonderful daily experience, especially coming from a place like Toronto where this is not the norm, that helps foster a certain level of comfort. Of course, we reciprocate; the key to walking down the street in the Lagoon is to keep a slow pace and your head up. You do not want to miss ‘shouting’ someone you know as you run the risk of looking too ‘proud’. Everyone you pass should be greeted, and you must be sure to check the verandas of the houses you walk by as well. This can certainly pose a challenge given that the roads are incredibly uneven and we spend quite a bit of time preoccupied with not tripping, and avoiding dogs and horse manure, but we are getting there. Slow progress is still progress.
As we approach the two-month mark I feel a sense of contentment in our daily lives, and an excitement for the months to come. Sure, we lack a lot of the luxuries that we are accustomed to, having been born and raised Canada, but the ingenuity, imagination, and generous spirit of this community fuels my enthusiasm and humbles me. I’m looking forward to more discoveries, although I am sure the pace at which they will arise will begin to slow, and deepened friendships that develop over time. Luckily, TV, internet and other distractions are not always available, but hours of quality conversation over a fresco or a meal are.
Written by: Sam