Hope this isn't too boring, but Rene is here today and he and I usually visit for a bit. (Actually that is kind of funny, as anyone who knows Rene, knows how much he loves to talk. He can go on for hours. Things are so tough now that I think he appreciates having someone to talk to). Of their four sons, two are here in Bullet Tree and unable to find work. Roni, who has a wife and little boy, has been able to fish in the river and sell fish and the occasional turtle to the Chinese storekeepers to make a few dollars to feed his family. It's difficult right now tho' because the river is swollen and brown from all the rain. Roni and his wife are now taking a wheelbarrow a couple of miles into the bush to cut firewood, which he can sell for 10 cents a stick. The track is steep and muddy, which adds to the struggle.
Rene told me that Alejandro got up this morning at 4am and is riding his bicycle to Spanish Lookout because he got a phone call that there might be a construction job there for him. This is a 12 mile ride over a really horrible rocky road. There isn't a bus from Bullet Tree to S.L. in the morning and he wouldn't have the fare anyway. When you first visit here and see disheveled looking men carrying a machette, walking on the road, it's intimidating. You want to look away and drive by. Now we see them as hardworking men who are doing any kind of work to feed their families. When we're on Paslow Falls Road or heading towards S.L. we give fellows a ride in the back of the pickup. There's a potential for risk, but the gratitude of a little relief for them, makes it worth it. We no longer make jokes about all the people riding in the backs of pickups. The joke isn't so funny when you look at tired faces and know how hard they've worked, just to keep going.
As one of my blogger friends commented, it's somewhat that way in parts of the U.S. also, but thankfully, there are some programs there that can help sustain folks thru the toughest times. Here, the rich get richer and the poor just work themselves to death. Most keep plugging away, hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel.
We're having our own struggles, but are glad that we can still manage Rene's two days a week. We really need his help and we feel that we're doing a tiny bit to help a wonderful family.