A different kind of life style far far away…Part 2

Our Normal Schedule

This is really cool! Usually the crab catchers tie up the crabs so that they are fixed but still living for selling. One pack is a dozen and they sell it for $5~$6 in the markets. Then the intermediaries sell it for $10 to the customers.

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This is what we do with crabs. We measure it twice or three times a week to make sure crabs in the mangroves are growing properly.

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Us trying to look professional.

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Usually they tie up the crabs right after they catch it and while they are leaving for the city to sell. You can see the crabs are muddy.

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Us patrolling during the day.

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Checking sizes again. Usually the crabs are 85cm wide and 63cm high.

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Putting up the black list or people who haven’t paid their $5 a month fee for catching crabs. We had to go out really early around 6am so everyone could see it before they left to catch crabs. Black list is for people who haven’t paid like for a year!

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People showing us how to catch full-grown crabs in the mangroves with hands. They were so quick! We had 28 crabs in less than an hour! Crab feasting tonight!!!

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Aren’t the mangroves really pretty and intricate?

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On our way to clean islands. Rubbish flows across the river from different communities and accumulate on the banks of mangroves. Why can’t everyone just use the rubbish bin!!

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Packed boat. We need as many people as we can get to go cleaning!!

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Picking up bottles filled with unidentifiable liquid in them…

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More cleaning! We had to evacuate soon after because there were so many bees and wasps!!!

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Piles and piles of rubbish!

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What a productive day!

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Finally back home!

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A different kind of life style far far away…Part 1

I want to share what has been recently going on in my life and travels while the memory is still fresh

I just came back from a volunteer trip fro 2 weeks on an island close to Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The community is a big community with two streets and with 1000 people living there where half the population is kids. It’s normal to see six or seven children in one household.

The community mainly makes money through selling crabs caught in the mangroves nearby. It’s a very macho community so only the guys work and women stay home. Guys will go out to work early in the morning, catch 50-60 crabs, go to the city to sell it and come back around 2-3pm to spend time with the family. Talk about a good lifestyle!

We were the CHINOS of the community:) All asians are considered Chinos.

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So I had the fortunate experience to stay on the island eat delicious and fresh caught crabs.

I also got to hang out with the kids. ALOT. Sometimes I played soccer all day long and just ran around. Revisiting my childhood.

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Catching shrimps in the nearby river. Using just a string, a slice of meat and a little bit of patience.

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We caught one….ONE.

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Anyways back to what I did while I stayed in Puerto Roma, the community.

My life consisted of waking up at 6am, going out to patrol with two police officers, president of the crab association and other people from the community.

People should only catch crabs with hands in the mangroves to make sure they join in the sustainable development cycle. Patrolling was a way to catch any illegal activities going on in the mangroves, mainly catching crabs with traps and nets.

If people caught crabs with hands, usually they let little crabs or pregnant females ones go to keep the crab population stable in the mangroves. However if you use traps or nets, the crabs soon die so there’s no way of letting them go.

So we patrol for those people working illegally. Then we come back do some documentation and go back to patrol and clean up the mangroves after lunch.

Patrolling….That’s  a real gun by the way…

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People taking a break after catching many crabs.

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Walking in the mangroves is not fun. Falling…falling…and more falling. The mud is like quick sand so you need to jump around to get the hang of it.

I never got the hang of it sadly. You jump and you fall.

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Have been in the same place for 5 minutes.

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Maybe it’s easier to walk on the trees…hmmm….

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That’s not all. I was unfortunate enough to wear black pants to the mangroves and although I smothered myself with mosquito repellent, I was a feast for the tons of mosquito residents residing in Mangrovelandia. ARGH!!!!! From top to bottom I was scratching like a maniac, hoping if I made wounds out of them somehow it won’t itch. Not a good plan.

More to come…:)