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Where am I? How did I get here? I knew nothing at the time, all I knew was it was not where I was supposed to be. I was on my way to Paris to visit my grandmother “Petit” for the summer.
I went there yearly to help her and just keep her company, especially because my grandpa passed away a month before I left. All they had been there dog which was on his last years. I was planning to move in with her after high school, but we got a call three days before I left that she was in the hospital and not doing so well.
The call was not surprising because she was not doing so good when I was with her the year before. I had spent my years worth of money to go spend time with my grandma, but where I was now, was not Paris.
Silence. Everything was as quiet as a starless night. I was startled to hear the wail of a monkey far in the distance. Still, I looked straight ahead enthralled by the amazing view of sand than ocean as far as I could see. It smelled like a coconut lotion your mom would put on her hands. It was calming until I snapped back into reality and remembered I was helpless in a place that I have never even seen flying to Paris all the other years. I was 17 and I have been flying to Paris with my family since I was five.
My view of the island was good enough that I could assume it was not big, I could see the ocean if I looked left or right, if I looked straight ahead all I saw was forest. There was no sight of wild life but I did see broken coconuts so I had a good idea of some animals that could have been around. The island’s resources were plentiful at first glance, but the more that I looked around the more I realized the food resources were going to be mostly from animals and that make me uncomfortable. I hated taking the lives of animals. It was the worst and I was so fearful of eating their meat, also I am highly against harvesting animals for their meat. This meant I would probably not last long surviving on this island. I just didn’t have enough to offer a vegan like me. I thought to myself
Get up. Get it done. Stay positive.
It was hard though. Hard to imagine I was going to make it long with these resources. Also the closer I got to the trees the more the coconut smell went away and dead animal started to fill my nose. I felt so defeated and scared. I decided that I would try to make a signal for rescue. Maybe there is someone out there that will see me and help. Maybe there would be someone that could save me. So I decided to build an SOS signal as soon as morning broke.
At sun rise I was up looking for anything that would stand out on this sandy beach, including rocks, leaves or any dark color object. It must have been at least eight hours before I decided I should start making the SOS signal. It started to look better than I started thinking.
What if a boat comes by they can’t see my SOS?
I started brainstorming things they could see.
Rock pile? No not obvious enough.
Standing SOS signal ? No not enough time.
FIRE! Perfect I will make a pedestal and light it on fire.
Another five hours have passed and my pedestal was finally set up. But I ran into another problem, the fire part. I had no resources to start a fire.
I was going to need some kind of dry leaf or wood and something that could make an spark, such as flint. The dry wood would be easy but flint was going to be harder. This whole island looked like nothing was out there.
Food sources were low, and all I could think of was how much my mom has admonished me to be thankful for what I had as a kid and now I understand why. However, I did find some rocks that look like flint from boy scouts when I was nine, I knew it could be used to start a fire and light the pedestal.
Clack! Clack! Clack! For at least five minutes I was smashing the rocks together not getting a spark to land on the dry leaves I collected. It was a life or death situation, so I continued to strike the rocks. About five more minutes had passed when I finally got a spark to land, I moved fast to light the pedestal but it was too late I got to excited and now the fire was gone.
Are you stupid! Why did you trough the flint?
Repeatedly went through my head.
You're going to die now! That's all there is to it!
I lost all faith at this time. I was in total desolation and despair. I laid there waiting for an animal to come use my body for their needs I did not care anymore. I had no food, no water, and something you can't even call shelter.
That night I decided to have one more desperate attempt to find a way to start fire and get food and water. When the sun rose I was up and searching I did find a small supply of water that would be gone by the end of the day, But I still did not have any fire source. I continued to search and I am kind of glad I did but also I was devastated about what I found. There in front of me was a decayed skeleton with a lighter sitting next to it. The fact that someone out in this world has lost someone and never got to say goodbye almost brought me to tears. I grabbed the lighter and ran back to where I set up the pedestal trying to run away from what I had just saw.
When I got back I lit the sculpture and at this time I was exhausted so I laid down to only be awoken in what felt like only ten minutes to the horn of a boat. Honk! Honk! Honk!I was up and jumping in happiness, I was so happy that I got to go visit my grandma alive.Being in this situation made me realize how precious family can be and i decided to share this knowledge with others. I sure was glad I was a boy scout and that I didn't give up or else I would not be alive right now telling my story and teaching a class on survival to kids that are like me, not willing to say the words “I quit.”.