Connection, a word with many interpretations, that vary on a person to person basis. When I initially signed up for this trip, I had somewhat of an idea in regards to the underlying meaning of Fish for Change. However, after completing the first day, I slowly began to grasp the significance of this program’s purpose.
Days passed quickly, and as time was spent both on and off the water, the image that slowly developed in my head was truly one of a kind. I started to notice how fly fishing, a passion many possess, served as a beacon of hope and truth among the people of Guanaja. Throughout the week, I had the privilege of participating in the Fish for Change program with young men and women who possessed a unique combination of authenticity and a clearly identified passion. Through fly fishing, a connection has been established between the locals of Guanaja and the participants of this program.
Although I haven’t gained a complete understanding of every moving gear within the larger machine known as Fish for Change, I believe time will serve as a valuable component to the process of understanding my overall experience in Guanaja. Conversely, I had a moment of clarity while fishing in the western flats of the island a few days prior to writing this blog. As the gray sky created a silver tint to the rippling waters of the rocky, white sand flats, I spotted a sizeable permit tailing. The scene and experience was surreal to say the least, but the compilation of emotions and images that crossed my mind before making a cast at that permit seemed to freeze me in time on those mysterious flats.
Having been surrounded by guides for a matter of hours each day, I realized in that moment that these men showed a sense of hospitality and understanding of life that is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever been witness to. As Mark would say, “Many men connect more on a boat in a series of hours than they would having been neighbors for ten years.” The attitudes each guide displayed throughout the week were otherworldly and refreshing in nature.
Despite the rarity of these experiences, they seem to be recognizable when encountered but difficult to fully understand when reflected upon. Connections, which can be quite rare in life, are a part of a strong web of relations within this community and are very much so alive and well.
- John David Grisebaum 6/21/19