Along the Oubangui river in the Central African Republic, the small village called Limassa repuchases the hope in a better future after that they have passed through a period of crisi. Sylvain Gninguèrè, fisherman like his father and his grandfather before him, tell us how COOPI’s project financed by FAO and Italian Agency for the Collaboration to the Development has helped his and many other suburban villages of Bangui to go out the economic crisis.
Limassa is a very small village, 231 souls grouped in few families which live only of fishing. In every family there is at least a fisherman and The craft is often handed down from one generation to another: it is a tradition that keeps us fastened to our territory. The men provide the fishes and the women go to sell them in the near markets. Since the crisis has hardly challaged the trade of the fish, that a big part of the population not allow,the sons often accompainy their parents in daily activities: young fishermen and little girls seller fish not for their will, but for economic needs and for difficulties to amitted to the studies.
Every season has its difficulties
Fishermen’s life is uneasy: every season has its difficulties. In the dry season (from December to March) the quantity of fish in our zone decreases and we are forced to leave our villages to search for more abounding zones. During the rain season, instead, fishing is abounding also near to the village, but the paths and the dirt roads become impassable because of the frequent floods and the only way of access is the navigation by the piroghe along the river. But the fishermen who can afford it are not many: in fact the pirogues are very expensive and to find them in Bangui’s market is difficult. Some fishermen push on as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo – on the other bank of the river – to buy chipper pirogues; others continue to use the old degraded pirogues, risking their life sailing in precarious conditions; but the majority of the people of Limassa remain close off from the town also for long periods.
A hook of hope from COOPI
Since January 2016 COOPI’s project “Support to the resilience and to the social cohesion of the vulnerable families hited by the crisis in Bangui” has intervened with training about fishing techniques in many villages of fishermen that there are in the zone. This formation is more productive than those put into the practice untill the year before. Many people have also received pirogues and equipment of fishing nets, baits, threads and other usefull equipping that made easier fishing and diplacements. Every fisherman has increased his quantity of fish caught that can sell on the market with a more accessible price for all, getting a better incom. Thanks to COOPI’s hook of hope, we have filled our nets with fishes and our pockets with some money more. Now we can afford the access to the sanitary cares and we can send our sons to the school. So I hope that, if they will decide to become fishermen it will be to keep alive the family tradition and not only because they had not other choice. Thanks to COOPI because it made me proud to be a father here, in Bagui’s province, along the river which for centurys has been the main resource of my people.