oil spill takes its toll

The New York Times has a good story on Thuong Nguyen, a Vietnamese American shrimp fisherman in Venice, Louisiana, whose basic livelihood has been deeply affected by the massive offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: Learning to Love the Sea, Then Torn From It.
But in another lesson of how all is connected, an offshore oil rig leased by a multibillion-dollar corporation exploded nearly two weeks ago. Which, in addition to killing 11 workers, ruptured a well. Which caused an ever-mushrooming oil slick. Which led to the closing of the country's most fecund fishing grounds, from the Mississippi River to Florida's Pensacola Bay, for at least 10 days.

Which has stalled, and possibly ruined, the livelihoods of thousands, including this diminutive man living on his boat at the very end of a place that calls itself the "end of the world." All he can do is paint, knock down some rust, and accept his boat's lullaby sway.

The pause fills Mr. Nguyen with anger, yes, but also guilt. In addition to providing for his family, he takes to heart the job of gathering some of the food you may eat tonight. "And now I cannot help out, so I feel like I'm - fail," he says. "I cannot bring in more seafood from here."
This guy knows adversity. He fled the Communists in his home country on a tiny boat. He built a life for himself, eventually buying a shrimp boat... only to find himself having to rebuild after Hurrican Katrina. And now, thanks to the spill, he's stuck again. There isn't much wonder why the tattoo on his arm read "Life is difficult."

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