While many of his comrades perished from malnutrition and the elements Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca used his skills at bartering to gain respect among the native peoples who inhabited the island off the coast of Texas. (de Vaca, p 14) He often thought of rescuing others (Oviedo) who were worse off than himself even though they would end up rejecting his offers. (de Vaco, p 15) When he became separated from his companions he ingeniously found ways to build fires and locate straw in which to cover his naked body for warmth, though he did come close to burning himself up when his straw caught fire with him in it. (de Vaca, p 18) He also had a strong belief that God controlled his actions and would see him through all kinds of adversities. (de Vaca, p 16) He mentions that some of his Christian companions perish when their boat capsizes, yet he manages to live by the grace of God. (de Vaca, p 11) It is through God’s intervention that he uses his gift of healing to build trust and instill confidence in the local natives after years of misfortune. “No one whom we treated, but told us he was left well; and so great was the confidence that they would become healed if we administered to them, they even believed that whilst we remained none of them could die.” (de Vaca, p 20). De Vaca shows concern for the natives and his courage and fearlessness enacted change in how they interacted. He displayed a sense of equality in helping to save the lives of others. He did not allow his feelings of past experiences to prevent him from doing the noble thing. He worked through his past and made a better future for the people and for himself.
As a country today we still use bartering or the importing and exporting of goods and services to make our lives more profitable and productive. This country still has people who go to bed hungry each night. In Arizona, you can still buy products made from prickly pears. We still have many people whose strong faith in God...
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