To be 23 and living on Roatan
On this beautiful and sunny Friday morning on Roatan,
At 7am sharp as always, some of our neighborhoods and vacation home workers (Johnny and Martil walking, and Ruben on his scooter), are passing by and getting ready to hit another day of hard labor. I hear some of them whistling, some laughing.
It impresses me to see these guys work day in and day out, almost 7 days a week, under the hot sun of our beautiful Island or the heavy rain, all for…$12 to $15 a day. And what do they do during lunch time to enjoy themselves? You would think sleep under a coconut tree right? No…you see them play football (soccer) on a small dirt spot with sugar canes for goalies, just having fun between the boys and sweating just a bit more.
These hard working guys, working probably since the age of 12, are on average 23 years old and have already 1 or 2 kids. That’s without mentioning a wife, mom, dad and grandma all waiting to be fed, back home somewhere in the smallest 12 x 12 home in Colonia. Can you imagine the pressure and the level of responsibility? Just try and remember when you were 23 and you’ll get your answer right there.
After more than a year here on Roatan, coming from the big city of Montreal, let me tell you the kind of impact these little moments of the day and these people can have on you. It is not an easy and a quick task to change your usual way of thinking when you leave everything behind, like I did, and move to an Island like Roatan, some days you even wonder if you can. But then, you sit and chat with Ruben for a few minutes, with his big smile, where he tells you about his regular day, his family and his day off spent at church thanking god for his blessings, and you think: “yep, I definitely can change and I certainly want to”. That simplicity, sincerity and the back to the basics can be a life changer. It is for me!
When you think of it: why do most of us think it has to be hard, complicated and unreachable, to feel that we are accomplishing something?
Here; a simple “Hola”, giving a ride back home to one of the workers after work, caring and asking about their day, giving them some toys for their kids for Christmas, makes all the differences in the world. That’s what I call accomplishment.
On your next trip to Roatan, make sure to say “Hola” when you see them, they will love you for it!