Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fisherwomen at Work

I met a lovely group of women in Bong County using a fascinating method for catching fish. They line up their handmade nets, then wade towards them using their hands underwater to shoo the fish in! They will do this almost a hundred times to get enough little fish for a day's meal. (CARI Compound, Sunday, February 25).


Anonymous said...

Hi Emla, thanks for your interesting short stories and the pics from the homeland. When I saw those women fishing in that pond, it reminded me of how women fished in the river on my parent's farm in Careysburg district. The only difference being that the river is cleaner than that pond they're fishing in.

You know it's ironic that with the abundance of rivers and lakes in Liberia, rich in marine life, many poor Liberians especially those in Monrovia would eat dry rice, than learn to fish. In America fishing is a huge sport. Rich and poor people fish for the fun and to feed their families. I personally fish and it's a way for me to relax and have some fun catching fish, not to mention fresh fish for my dinner table.

Few years ago I visited Liberia and happen to stop at UL with a friend to meet some people. While there I engaged several students in discussions about the Internet and life in general. As expected the topic of eating dry rice and hard times in Monrovia came up. My response was, if they don't have money to buy meat or fish to eat with the rice, why couldn't they learn to fish? I turned and pointed at the ocean in the background of the city, and I said, “there’s lot of fish in that ocean.” Everyone give different reasons why they couldn't fish, but one person said he didn't have fishing gear. Obviously this guy sounded more reasonable to me so I decided the next time I visit Liberia I'll bring some fishing gear and form a fishing club. I think the so-called educated class has a mindset that is counterintuitive. People need to think more creatively to live successfully. Those women are a good example of rational thinkers…they’re not beggars.

elle* said...

Hi there!

Your letter reminds me of another example of the funny way some people think (or don't think) around here. I cannot tell you how many times someone at the market has begged me for 5 Liberian Dollars (about 10 cents) "jes to buy my peppeh, Ma." Pepper!! You get a large handful of pepper for $5 and you only have to plant the seeds of ONE pepper to keep you and your family supplied with pepper FOREVER. I swear, sometimes you just wanna shake some sense into somebody. Or rub some pepper in their eyes (:

On another note, I love to fish too. I've gone fly-fishing (my favorite kind) in Idaho's Snake River, and every summer my family and I fish when we're "Up North" in Wisconsin. This past winter my husband and kids even went ice fishing, but I've never quite gotten into that one.

I do see little boys fishing in all kinds of waters around here. I remember when I was younger we used to help the neighborhood kids buy their "10 cent line, 5 cent hook" and go fishing with them in little ponds. I guess as they get older they move into informal jobs that are more common or visible in the towns and cities. The real fishing is usually left to the Kru and the Fanti, who are the traditional fishermen.

By the way, we have a fishing club here already - The Anchor Club - but it would be nice to have one a little more accessible to the masses.

Also - did you know that there are fish pirates stealing fish from our oceans? They work just far enough from the coast so that we can't see them from the shore. Needless to say, our Navy (yes, we have one) is totally unequipped to do anything about it.

Michael said...

hi elle i love the pics of our women fishing, could you post pictures of monrovia, and paynesville, if you have any, we use your blog most of the time when our association, call the association of liberian students in minnesota meet, once again thank you so much for all the wonderfull things you do.