I use my Spanglish to try and communicate, but the boy just smiles, nods his head, and keeps rowing. I give up, and we just row past dolphins playing in the afternoon heat. After a time, the heat of the day in contrast to the cool black water becomes too much, and we end up stripping off clothes and diving in.
Refreshed again, we head to the local village on shore to scores of people waiting to see the newest visitors to their homeland. These people are not destitute and unhappy as my preconceived notions had concocted, but full of life and joy. I realize that the items I brought for them will not enrich their lives, but is more of an offering of thankfulness for being in their part of the world. It is a show of kindness and faith in humanity.
It is a well received message on both parts.
As we leave the village and head back to the Aqua, more children are playing along the river, nakedly jumping and splashing in the water, content in this beautiful land.
Who knew a canoe would lead to such a conclusion?