DYNAMITE DIVING

By: Ely Lagajino

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31 (NKJV)

Boom, bang, boom, boom, bang!”  Seconds later, all men in the village race to the nearest boat. They paddle hard and fast toward the explosion site near an island. Everyone dives into the water. Like hungry dolphins, the men grab all the fish insight for a fifty-fifty sharing. It is a regular day in the village. 

I was in grade five when I stayed with my aunt’s family in a remote barrio near the sea, where dynamite fishing was the way of life. One day we heard eight consecutive explosions. “C’mon, let’s get some fish too,” my classmates chorused as we stopped playing. Next thing we knew, we found ourselves excitedly paddling toward the blasting site. 

I’ve never seen so many fishes just gliding in the water before.  As neophytes, we forgot to bring goggles and fishnets.  Anyway, the water was clear, but when I made my first dive, I found the water deeper than I thought. Luckily, I caught two big fish.  Suddenly, dark clouds covered the sun rays. I panicked and let go of my catch to swim faster upward and get myself out of the dark deep. Gasping for air and with eyes closed, I swam for my life but couldn’t reach the top. I knew I would drown and die. In my struggle I managed to say, “God, forgive me. Save me,” as I allowed my exhausted body to float.  

Suddenly, my feet hit a solid object, so I stood. To my surprise, the water was only knee-deep.  In my confusion, instead of swimming upward, I was actually swimming towards the shore.           

“How did you get there so soon? We thought you drowned,” the folks, and my classmates on the boat shouted with cheers and laughter.  God taught me my first driving lesson: never to join dynamite fishing again.

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