They burned the houses with the people inside

Darkness has descended once again as the many lights of San Carlos reflect across the silent, but still dirty, waters of the Rio San Juan. As we leave the boat the woman and her children do not move. “He will meet us”, she sobs in a mixture of languages refusing my help.The Garfuna couples and their dreadlock companion, now my friends help me find a ratty vacant room with a cot close to the odor of the dying waterfront. The food stalls are closed. A guard puts his shotgun down long enough to retrieve two bottles of beer for me. I am not happy. Then again, after this unique adventure how could anyone possibly be sad?

By mid morning the next day I am able to locate fresh coffee, bread and ripe bananas. There is even a travel agency. A teenager, the daughter of the owner who is hand writing my plane ticket, tells me how it was during the war. “The Sandinistas burned the houses with the people inside” she said tears dripping down her cheeks. “Then the government came and did the same thing. Why does there have to be war?”

The little plane takes off from a dusty trail on a hill overlooking the town. Below the river, the jungle and the wonderful folks who seem to be stranded there forever flow and weave their way through life. I know they will surely be with me whenever my dreams drift back to my exquisite Float Walk.

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