Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Zihuatanejo, Mexico & "El Pescador y el Hombre de Negocios"

Fisherman in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
When you are on vacation do you find yourself making connections to your travel experiences and the classes you will teach in your upcoming school year? I do this often and even more so when I happen to be in a Spanish country.

Earlier this month my travels took me to Ixtapa, Mexico. The neighboring town is Zihuatanejo and each evening the coastal waters are dotted with lights from fishing boats.  In the morning, the fishermen take their catches to the fish market in Zihuatanejo. See the beautiful pictures of this market shared at THIS website.

My husband and I took a tour of the area and we arrived at the fish market around 11:00 in the morning.  Unfortunately, there were only a few fishermen remaining at the market selling fish.  Our guide told us that the fishermen come to the fish market early in the morning with the fish they caught the previous night or earlier in the morning, display their catch on blankets, and the townspeople come to the market to buy fresh fish for the day.  He said by 11:00, most of the fisherman had sold their fish and had left for the day.

My first thought was "What are they going to do the rest of the day?" and that's
when the story, "El Pescador y el Hombre de Negocios" popped into my mind.  Obviously, I don't know what each of the fishermen had scheduled for the day, but it is possible that they were home with plans to enjoy the rest of the day with family and friends, as in the story.

I read El Pescador y el Hombre de Negocios with my Spanish students to show the contrast in values: the fisherman understands the spending time with family and friends, whereas the businessman is focused on ways to grow a business and make more money.  When reading the story with my students, I had always related to the fisherman, but was surprised to find that when I was at the market my initial thoughts were more aligned with the businessman in the story.  Wow. That stopped me in my tracks and made me reflect on a few things.

I also realized that I needed to make some changes in how I introduce and use the story in class.  In the past, we read the story first and discussed it afterwards.  The next time we read it in class, I'll begin with my picture of the fisherman and the pictures on the slideshow from the above link, describe the fish market in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and then ask the students to brainstorm ideas on what the fisherman does the rest of the day, and see where the discussion takes us. I'm interested to see if the class discussion will naturally bring out the two differing views, (the fisherman and businessman) before the students even read the story.

There are several versions of the story, some take place in Mexico, India, Costa Rica, and other places around the world.  You can find the story that mentions Mexico HERE.        

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