We have arrived safely to Sampela after traveling by taxi, plane, and boats to get here. After all of the anticipation of Sampela, the group is happy to finally be settling into their homestays above the ocean. We arrived to the boardwalk, greeted by a flood of people who welcomed us in. Andar, our homestay coordinator here and his wife Saipa had lunch with us before everyone went off to their homes for the next 12 days. We are surrounded by the ocean, and already we can feel the power and peace that this environment offers.
For the next week and a half we will be learning about what it is like to live in Sampela. The people here are mostly subsistent fishermen, so of course we will also be fishing with our families. We hope to learn more about the environmental and social pressures that exist in this community, and are curious about what identity means to them. We hope to share stories and better understand the complexities of conservation land (and ocean) management and how that affects the people who live within the confines of nationally protected areas.