My husband often says most people are not stupid just naive, which means they are simply deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment. Of course this can be remedied with education - educate and people are informed; informed and they can act with intelligence.
However, benighted (existing in a state of intellectual, moral or social darkness) sometimes is not so easy to solve.
On this island one big problem is garbage. I have touched on this subject before and the ramifications of not disposing of garbage properly. It is difficult on a small island and burning is one way of disposal. However, when you have items that cannot be burned; i.e., batteries, metal, chemicals, then another problem arises.
I am, today, focusing my attention on the more prevalent form of garbage - daily waste in the form of food products, containers, wrappers, human waste, etc. This is the most common type of garbage and one that every island has problems with.
When we first arrived on Guanaja trash was everywhere; in the water, on the land, around homes and businesses. There were no trash cans in town; people just threw their waste in the canals which weave in and out of Bonacca. They had been doing it for years with no one complaining or teaching them that this was wrong. I guess when one lives with garbage around them and it is taken for granted, then one accepts it as part of the course of life.
Finally, after a few years a clean up took place; children were taught in school that disposing of one's garbage wherever they happened to be was not the thing to do. Trash cans appeared around town and streets were cleaned of liter. The canals were cleaned periodically and now we no longer see trash floating in the canals along side the streets were we walk.
I have, over time, stopped people from disposing of trash incorrectly by lecturing them and even, in some cases, picking up the trash, giving it to them and making them dispose of it in a proper receptacle.
Children are the easiest to reach and the quickest to learn; adults tend to avoid change and many hate being told what to do even if it is evident that it is in their best interests. They cling to old ways and are, in this case, benighted.
The other day, while sitting on our front porch after 4 p.m. in the afternoon, my husband noted a dory (long boat) going by our house heading to the southeast end of the island. Just after it passed our house, it turned around and appeared to be heading back towards the Cay (or Bonacca). For those uninformed, from the Cay southeast one must pass the dump which is where all local garbage is disposed of, then you pass a huge building that has become a ruin and is falling down and on to the end of the island with only our house and one dilapidated beach home appear before all that is present are rocky shores and green hills.
As my husband watched, the man in the boat, accompanied by two young boys, started pitching his garbage out into the water. My husband grabbed his camera and caught the activity in the following photos:
First - still in the water:
Second - Tossing garbage
This is not fish jumping n the water, this is garbage they are tossing. Note the young man is getting ready to toss out a piece of lumber.
Third through Six:
Some of the results of their efforts:
After pitching whatever they could out of their boat, they leave the scene:
What is worrisome is that this man had to pass the garbage dump where he could have disposed of his waste without polluting the water. This bewilders and befuddles me. Why he chose to come all this distance and dump is a mystery except for the fact that no one could see him! What is worse, he took two young boys with him to accomplish this task thus passing on his benighted views.
But, Aha - as his boat's name suggests: "All Eyes On Me!"