I remember talking with the team and some of the pastors when we first arrived here in August. They were talking about eating fish caught in certain parts of the lagoon and how, if you take a bite and your lips go numb, you’ve probably gotten hold of a radioactive fish that has been feeding on contaminated vegetation; at which point you should hastily spit it out and throw it away.
There are still parts of the Marshall Islands that are suffering from the affects of nuclear fallout from the 1950’s along with German Nuclear submarines that were shot down in the lagoon by military planes and then leaked out into the waters.
My friend said he knew the Red Snapper was contaminated, but that it’s so good, he ate it anyway. The first bite numbs the tongue…if only it stopped there. He continued eating, savoring every bite until the plate was nothing more than scattered bones. It wasn’t long after the delectable meal that his entire body went numb and into shock. Then the fever. Lying in bed he tried drinking water, but it felt like burning hot coals stabbing at his throat and inside of his body on the way down. He couldn’t move, and worse, it was excruciating to lie on the bed because everything that touched his skin, he said, felt like scorching hot needles poking him from the inside out. The radiation from the fish was being absorbed into the tissues of his body. He couldn’t move for two days until finally, the radiation in his body had released and he found himself able to sit up, dizzily, and drink with less pain.
If the people knew what was happening to the tissues and organs of their body, they might reconsider. The workers who shared the Red Snapper ate knowingly as well…progress at the construction worksite ceased for two days.
The good thing is that the people know what parts of the reef not to fish for the general public and this type of fish is not sold in the market place if it’s caught in questionable parts of the island chain. It would be considered illegal in English terms…but I’m not sure they have those kinds of written laws here. It’s just something people don’t do.
Strange isn’t it? The consequences we will endure to have something we want…
My son, eat honey, for it is good,
And the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
If you find it, there will be a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.