Editor's Picks(1-4 of 8)
On The Mercy Of God…..
During the fishermen livelihood survey, I visited almost all villages situated on the bank of river Mattru Jong. It came in Bonthe district the Southern part of Sierra Leone, West Africa. The river Jong meet with the Atlantic Ocean because of back water of sea the Jong river water is some places turned in brackish water and that created good ecology for the development of Mangrove forest. Near this bank the small- small hamlet is developed, mostly fishing and farming communities are habituating in villages moreover these hamlet constituted with 15 to 50 families or houses. I visited nearly 12 fishing cum farming hamlet of Nongo Babulon & Bendu Cha chiefdoms like Momaya, Molbat, Mania, Bendu Cha, Mosele, Tisana, Modevis, Bunpetoke, Taigbe, Garinga and Yealewa. I observed that in what condition these people are living, the life totally depend on mercy of God. No primary health and sanitation facilities, no education and no appropriate reliable means of transportation. For transportation they are using dug-out canoes Keno (The small boat carved in one big trunk of wood). Because of insufficient income from fishing they are engage in other business such as wood cutting, farming etc.
The situation is most worst in rainy season when the Jong river flow up to its normal water mark, the water logging and flood water of Jong river make it very hard for the people in the vicinity to came out from hamlet, even that of whole week time they can’t able to come out to purchase their daily needs items. The voyage by Keno turned very dangerous in rainy season because of flood water and back water of Atlantic Ocean creates lot of currants in the Jong river stream. Lots of losses occurred by Keno transportation generally in rainy season but there is no proper official record of these casualties to reduce them.
Though the life is going on the river side villages on the name of God, When I observed the children’s with big tummy clearly indicating their malnutrition status, no education facility, I thought how they will cop up with the future situation and challenges in this daily changing world. In some villages I observed that children’s are learning Arabic, practicing and reading the character written on the wooden plate. But it not help them lot, because the English & the Krio (broken English) is the most common official and communication language here. It is hard for them to get job on the basis of Arabic. I asked mother of Chief of village in Mende language, Kawu Ae Na? (How are you?) and she replied in Mende, just pushing my days ahead, she was suffering from back pain but its not easy to get treatment, first she have to cross the river by Keno and then by catching the Poda Poda (the private motor transport) she have to go Bo and its take near about 14 to 16 hours from her place and all this journey is not easy in this old age.
I really fail to understand how these people are living in such difficult terrain, in muddy swamp with misquotes. Communities are living hand in hand with Malaria, Typhoid and Dihoria because of poverty and lack of means of transportation they are not treating themselves; in place of that sometime they use the local herbal medicines. But, thanks to UNICEF and WHO health programs, under the program misquote nets were distributed and by awareness programs they taught them how to use it to keep them away from Malaria.
During my return way I just look towards these villages and understand what is the meaning of sentence ‘Living on mercy of almighty God”. I just remembered the communities’ living in the Sundarban Area of Bangladesh and India. The unsecured life, for their livelihood they are depends on the Sundarban forest which is filled with predators like Royal Bengal tiger and Crocodiles. When men left from his house for livelihood the wife never have guaranteed that her husband will be return back safely, but they living the life by trusting the Goddess Bon Bebi.
How tough lives these people are living. We are living in big metro cities with all luxury and basic amenities though we are feeling insecure and to deal with it we are just prefer to run for money, status and power. I was just contemplating on two contradictory pictures, the people who have all modern amenities and the people who are far away from the basic amenities and right of living moderate life.