GROS ISLET'S SUMMER WATERSPORTS WORKSHOP SCORES AGAIN
|ZEN WATER SPORTS MASTER: THE SULTAN OF SWIM|
|ZEN WATER SPORTS MASTER: THE WATER CRAFT KING|
Two Zen masters on the beach of the village carrying kayaks and sails and boards and lifejackets. One is an endurance swimmer whose only criteria for taking up a challenge is that someone told him he couldn’t do it. The other is a watersports master who would be a naval commander if there were ever such a thing in the Caribbean.
They are setting up for the last day of the Village Summer Watersports Workshop.
The children gather sometime around lunchtime or shortly thereafter. For many of them, this is the best part of the summer. In every fishing village, the beach is free, but the command of the sea is for the privileged. This is why fishermen still command respect, in spite of the fact that the world requires most people to smell good to maintain their stature. Boats, boards and sails are not cheap. And we gave up most of our culture of making them ourselves after it became clear that our development model didn’t think fishermen were worthy of respect.
The training begins.
To the untrained eye, it’s a bunch of kids playing.
To anyone who knows the context, it’s a little bitty revolution. The Zen Masters are doing for fishing and marine culture what gardeners and small farmers have done for agriculture – diversify it and pass it on to new generations.
They’re not just teaching swimming and sailing and windsurfing. They’re teaching teamwork, technique and endurance. They are extending the power of the village children over the sea that was taken from them when the Causeway was built.
Funny story: The night before, a black, black, black little boy was near the church with his friends. Something in his soul was fighting with him and caused him to physically provoke his friends for fun. He provoked them until they all abandoned him.
“Da mun doing that every night,” the other boys confirmed. “I eh know who he vexed with, but he always looking for somebody to knock him out.”
At the watersports workshop the next day, he was a popular master of light sail craft and a hit with the girls. Watersports may not solve his problems but it might give him an outlet that might save his life and help him lose his virginity.
“Sir,” the children call their water masters, without being told to. “Sir, may I…?”
The masters themselves have never even cared that much for the standards of English, but the children, recognizing their mastery and authority, bestow the title on them that is usually reserved for people with book knowledge and property.
They are the Zen masters of the Gros Islet Village beach.
“Zen?” they say. “What’s that? Some kind of kung fu?”
Ah…that’s so deep…
What could be more zen?
|Gros Islet Summer Water Sports Workshop: Retaking Rodney Bay, one kayak at a time|