In the two years we have lived here, I have been amazed time and again by the generosity and kindness we have received from Mexicans. For the most part, we have only been met with kindness and this story proves that in Mexico, it is hard to be more generous - the more you give, the more they give.
One morning in Refugio, Patrick and I were discussing how strange it was that this summer we had not once been approached by a "pangero" (a fisherman who lives for weeks at a time out in the islands in a 20' open boat). Many times last summer we were approached in remote anchorages by these fishermen, asking us to trade water/food/gas for lobster or some other delicacy they had caught.
In the usual way of life, not ten minutes later a panga pulled up with three men on board. Despite our lack of Spanish, we learned that they had run out of water five days ago. There was currently a strong wind blowing from the south and they were pinned there until the weather changed. They held up a five gallon container and asked for us to give them some water. Even though our water maker has been on the fritz and making far less than it usually does, we were happy to fill up their container. They seemed a little surprised when we filled the whole thing up. Since we were being so generous, they asked shyly if we could fill up another container, which we did.
Then the lead man asked if we liked scallops. Sure! Who doesn't? He asked us to wait just a little bit and he would be back. While he was gone, we decided to give him some new Cemex T-shirts that we had hanging around the boat (Patrick came down with bags of them to give away) so we dug those out.
About fifteen minutes later, they returned. They handed over a burlap rice bag that looked about 1/4 full. When Patrick opened it, he saw that it wasn't filled with scallops in the shell as he expected, it was filled with just the scallop meat and a couple lobster. The bag weighed about 30 lbs. I got out a Ziploc bag and we started putting some of the huge scallops into it. We asked the man, "How many?" and he replied, "Todos." All!!! "Es verdad?" Are you sure?
We couldn't believe it! We didn't want to take that many and started protesting. He went on to explain that they had been living at Refugio for the last month in a little fish camp and they were out of water, and their ice supply was getting thin. They had brought supplies to stay there about a month. We had told them earlier that the weather was forecasted to continue on for two more days and they didn't think that they would have enough ice to keep all of their catch fresh until they could get it to market. So in the manner of asking us to do a favor for them, they gave us about 30 lbs of fresh, beautiful, huge, ice-cold scallops and a couple lobster tails.
Scrambling to keep up with their generosity, we filled up another five gallon water jug for them and handed over the bag of three T-shirts. Our fifteen gallons of water and T-shirts seemed a paltry trade in comparison to our bag of treasure. That is a lot of scallops! Thankfully there were two other boats at anchor, so we shared the bounty and still ended up with two gallon Ziplocs stuffed with luscious scallops in our Engel freezer.
6 days ago