Mr. Vanadel called my papa lazy, and it was true he was no fisher anymore. Instead he sat on our slant porch carving rosewood into asmat. When Mr. Vanadel said he should take them down to shore to sell them to the tourists, Papa just said, “What for?”
It was the same thing with everything. Him, so many times going out to sea, putting gas in the boat, then fourteen-hour days, earning pennies on the pound. He’d come back poorer than when he left. And if the rains fell, or the tides turned swell, or the winds blew in from the south, no man among us could break even. Which to me is why he said it, why I heard it more and more, and why I got to wondering if it made any difference if I finished school. Because the thing I had to ask myself, was: What for?
This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.
This seemed like such an idyllic place when I picked it, but I didn’t read far before I learned about the wrenching poverty suffered by most of the population. To learn more: Behind the beauty of Indonesia’s Raja Ampat islands lie poverty and neglect