The village near the Old Dutch fort is home to 4,000 people. They have a Mosque, Hindu temple, Catholic Church, and one school. The Father watching over the school continues to emphasize one theme, everyone is part of the family and they are all his kids. Amazingly, or perhaps not so, it works.
With no formal industry, limited employment opportunities, and no medical facilities or personnel, the rationale for living here is purely historical. It is beautiful. The beach stretches north and south unbroken. The Bay of Bengal is clear and inviting. Several years ago, Japanese and Chinese trawlers showed by and stayed for a few months. Since then the fishing catch has dramatically reduced. There is no sustainable way of feeding a family, yet families are all the people have. Families are the flue holding this community together.
As we headed out this morning in a fiberglass covered set of timbers lashed together, it was a strange mix; two old fisherman training two young kids with an American from India by way of England thrown into the mix. My Tamil is nil and their English was very limited, yet the fishing drew us together. I sat awed with the shared sensed of things important; children, living in peace with those around you, the awareness of life fragility, and the fun of watching an evening meal. I found myself reconnecting with things important, all because of four fishermen from a small village that know how to live with each other.
The contrast with the hawkers could not be more extreme. Quick chat up lines with a clear agenda of selling you something you do not need. Repetitive questions that look to engage a mark in conversation that will hopefully end in a sale. Silly demonstrations that attempt to prove points that are not relevant.
As I start yet again, I wonder if I have learned anything from the events around me. Will I listen and grow and fall into similar old patterns?
“A good person hates false talk; a bad person wallows in gibberish.” (Proverbs 13.5)