The women maneuvered their crude canoes down narrow alleys of brack­ish water. They dipped their paddles lightly, gliding slowly past scrap-built houses elevated on spindly sticks that held the structures just beyond the reach of the tide. Here and there a head popped out of one of the homes to check who or what was passing. In the small harbor where the women beached their boats, the shoreline was a work in progress. People were filling the shallows, tamping down layers of trash to reclaim solid ground from the murky brown. Nearby, under a thatched-roof pavilion on one of those pounded patches stolen from the sea, a woman lit a match and put it to a pile of wood chips and sawdust at her feet. A lazy haze of smoke rose into the dusty air.