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OM Celebrates 60 Years


 

Photo tour of fishing village in Zambia

Photo tour of fishing village in Zambia

Fish drying in the sun on the thatched roof tops. Fish smoking over an open fire. Fish for sale in the market. Fish sitting in buckets waiting to be gutted. The smell of fish cooking.

Fish, fish, and more fish.

Everywhere you look in the village of Kapembwa, Zambia, there are fish.

Located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, which borders four countries and is Africa's longest lake, Kapembwa's main industry is fishing.

During the night, the men are out on the water corralling kapenta, a small fish about an inch long, into nets. The bobbing lights of their lanterns can be seen from shore, bright beacons reflected on a pool of black.

In the morning, the night's catch is spread out to dry on top of the nets.

A few hours later, the fishermen are back out again, this time after the larger buka fish, which is caught with a fishing line and hook. The men will fish “until the fish are gone” before returning to shore to pass off the catch to the waiting hands of their wives, daughters, sisters, or mothers.

As the men take care of the boat and other equipment, the women take care of the fish, gutting  and setting them out to smoke over the fire or dry in the sun.

Some of the fish are sold locally, but most of the catch is sent to the market in Mpulungu, a three-hour boat ride away, where the profit is much larger. In Kapembwa, 11 buka fish sell for 10 kwacha, ($1.50 USD), while in Mpulungu, 10 kwacha only buys four fish.

Fish, fish, and more fish.

I loved visiting Kapembwa. I loved seeing how the people lived, how they interacted. These people work hard. Cooking, fetching water, cleaning, fishing, mending nets--there's always something to be done.

Yet they know how to relax and have fun. Neighbours chatting, people working, kids playing, soccer games and handball matches--the village is never quiet.

I admire the people of Kapembwa. They work hard, they have to in order to live where they do, but they always have time to smile and say hello.

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