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Lost Boys

Boys running barefoot in the mud, playing soccer with a coconut. A ramshackle village, lacking electricity and running water, is the only place they've ever known. Their fathers are fishermen who, almost without exception, are suffering from the effects of over fishing and marine resource scarcity. At one time they were subsistence shark fishermen who were able to bring dinner home to their families at night. Today, they spend much of their time and money in the cantinas, drinking to forget the burden of their poverty. Their boys will have the same destinies unless radical change happens their way.

I’ve been to this community several times, looking for ways to bring environmental education and the hope of economic alternatives to its residents. Two hours in a skiff braving choppy waves and relentless rain or scorching sun is the easier part of the trip. More difficult, is to witness the cultural and economic impoverishment of a community that lives on the brink of despair. But the work that we are doing brings me hope that we will be able to help these people create a brighter future for themselves and their children.

In this photo, the children's smiles and enthusiasm were for the miracle of modern technology that could reflect their image back to them. I hope that in the next one, it will be in anticipation of a joyful life.

Children in a remote coastal village in Panama