◽️▫️Photographer and Historian ➖Cadu de Castro
◼️◾️▪️CRAB COLLECTORS ON DELTA DO PARNAÍBA ➖PIAUÍ / BRAZIL 🇧🇷
I was in Ilha Grande, region of the Delta of Parnaíba, when my friend Pedro Dutch told me he had good news. I had gotten with Tonho, an island crab, for me and Karen to join us on a day’s work at the crab-tasting. I was excited, anxious! I thought of the that would bring me the experience of living with and with these workers and knowing their craft. The next morning, we woke up at 4 o’clock in the morning and went to the Tatus Harbor, the crabs arrived, and at 5 o’clock in the morning we left the port on the Tonho boat towards the more distant mangroves where there is still crab.
On the way I began a conversation with one, then another, and soon we were pruning like old friends. I learned with Adriano how to break the embira, Manuel told me about the hardness of the deal, Tonho said that the crab is scarce. I was indignant at the prices they paid for the crabs, with the exploitation of a semi-slave labor. I talked to them about cooperative, but they said nothing works, who buys everything.
We reached the mangrove swamp, Adiano was the first to descend, then Manuel, then the others. The caranguejeiros chose the place where they would take it and Tonho would leave them to catch them in the return. It was me, Karen, Wrong Face and Tonho. There he went to prepare the minimum of photographic equipment to take, to boot and to lower in the mangrove.
Wrong Face already prepared the smoker, because he said he hated the “plagues” (muriçoca, mutuca and, especially, a mosquito they call a pererecaque, according to them, it stung too much). They went behind the burrows, showing the footprints and the distinction between the male and the female, which is forbidden to taste.
Then I had to bog down in the mangrove to accompany them and photograph them. I tired, muddy, stung by the “plagues” despite my repellent, I felt the difficulty, the hardness, the body wear of the craft of crabbing. I grieved, I was angry, I felt sorry for them, I cried. Embraining the mangrove by collecting and carrying 40, 50 crabs is life for the few. And those few, at 40 years of age are practically invalid for the deal.
When they return to the port they sell the crabs to the middlemen who pay almost nothing. Exploited, the crabmen are hopelessly humiliated. Yes, humiliated, that’s what I heard. They return to the house with the narrow gain of a day of hard, exhausting, insalubrious work.
What is most interesting is that those who come from the abundance and ignore the reality of these people, call them “vagabonds” because they need a social project of the government, Bolsa Família. Sad!
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