Sunday morning I head back to the airport and from there back to Honduras. While my last two international trips were about the completion of a project, exhibiting a collection of photographs, Honduras represents the beginning of a new one—and a new adventure.
After making sure everything is in order on Monday after my arrival, on Tuesday Dr. Elmer Mejia and I are traveling by airplane (there are no roads to get there) to Puerto Lempira in the La Moskitia region of Honduras to visit with lobster divers. Reportedly, there are around 9,000 Moskito Indians in the region who dive regularly harvesting lobster. About half of them have some neurological condition, including severe paralysis, that was caused by the extreme exposures and dive conditions these divers experience. They often dive well beyond any recommended dive table in the hunt for lobsters, sacrificing their bodies, so Americans can have all-you-can-eat lobster.
The problem is these divers don’t see any other way to make a living. If they try to dive more safely—as people have tried to teach them before—they can’t collect as many lobsters and feed their families. If they don’t dive, there really aren’t many opportunities for them to earn a living at all. That is, none without helping to run drugs across Honduras heading north to the American market. So, in short, it comes down to feeding one American appetite or another to make a living and probably die trying.
Dr. Mejia and I are going to visit these divers, many of them his former patients, in their villages. I hope to learn more from them about their diving circumstances, the conditions they work in, and understand their lives at home.
Not sure how much access I will have to the internet. I will be able to connect in La Ceiba, but I’m doubtful about the time I’m in Puerto Lempira. Never know until I get there.
And away we go!.