Saturday, April 2, 2011

Paradise Found

On the way to/from the Ishahayi Beach School, we traveled down Five Cowrie Creek into a different world from Lagos....the National Geographic part of Nigeria.   It is a glimpse into unfamiliar surroundings where people totally live off the resources of the land.  
We passed many typical fishing villages which line the water front.
The areas are tranquil, remote and very basic.  
There's so much brown along with the lush green of the tropics.    
Villagers fish from wooden boats in order to provide for their families. 
Most of the villages are very poor, with no electricity or running water. 
In this village, they are drying and smoking fish in order to preserve it
since they don't have refrigeration. 
 The people rely on boats for transportation and fish is one of the main staples.  Papayas, coconuts and mangoes grow plentifully.  Beans, rice and yams supplement their basic diets.  We also saw chickens and an occasional goat, used for very special meals. 
This village manufactures wooden boats, which are sold to communities nearby.
Many of the boats are treated, but few are painted due to the expense. 
The simple life of a tropical village....but a tougher life in many ways. 
I'm impressed with the hardiness of the local people.     
It was so interesting to see that each village was a little bit different.  

These men are sanding.  They dive down and bring up buckets of sand and dump it into the bottom of the boat.  When the boats are full, they sit very low in the water.  The sand is used to make concrete (and cinderblocks) and also sold to fill in eroded areas of the beach.  We found it fascinating to watch the men drive long pieces of wood into the sand to prevent the boat from moving while they are in the water.  This particular boat has 7 poles holding it in place.   
In this village, the fishermen have just returned and the entire community comes out to meet them.  This is the most active part of the day as the village works together.  

We could tell as soon as we got closer to Lagos since it's more colorful,
crowded and with much more trash!     
We returned from the day relaxed and renewed ready to enter the chaotic life of Lagos.   Paradise has been found in the simplicity and the natural life of Five Cowrie Creek.  What a privilege to experience something so different. 

No comments: