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Returning Fishermen

Returning Fishermen

From the balcony of my cottage at Rwiza Village, I saw a fleet of fishing boats coming back to the shore. It was early in the morning. The fishermen had spent a whole night working. When they docked, a group of women was waiting for them. The women were there to buy and deliver fish to the market.

The sight of returning fishermen reminded me of the night I tried fishing for the first time. I was hoping to catch what would have been my own breakfast but I left the lake empty-handed. I was unable to harvest those sardine delicacies known as sambaza because unlike other fishermen, I lacked patience.

I wasn’t a team player either. As we paddled in unison to our fishing spot, my fellow fishermen were singing songs I wasn’t familiar with. Singing boosts their morale, uplifts their spirits and enhances their teamwork. When this was happening, I was entertaining doubts over my readiness to spend a night aboard their fishing vessel.

I was actively involved in the process of casting nets and setting up lanterns used to attract fish. Then I found myself looking at my watch repeatedly and wondering how long would it take to catch something. Eventually, I made an arrangement to return to the shore and abandoned the crew before our mission was accomplished.

I wasn’t prepared to spend a whole night trying to catch sambaza far away from the shore. As a result, I gave up after a couple of hours and retreated to the warmth of my cozy hotel room. Reflecting on this scenario, I can clearly see how the habit of giving up has led to other shortcomings in my life.

While on duty, real fishermen figure out ways to keep their motivation burning. Staying motivated is key. Like our personal hygiene, motivation doesn’t last without deliberate maintenance effort. We take showers, brush our teeth and do laundry regularly, among other things, in order to stay clean. We work out consistently in order to stay fit. Similarly, we need a daily dose of whatever fuels our motivation. Batteries must be recharged to restore power.

Fishermen stretch their nets underneath three boats connected by handmade eucalyptus rods. They comfortably walk on those narrow sticks dashing from one boat to another, an exercise that requires exceptional balancing skills. I would like to practice walking on those things but I wouldn’t dare carry out such an experiment in the middle of a chilly night.

As mentioned above, I lacked patience and ran back to my comfort zone but the rest of the team trusted the process and kept the flame of inspiration burning all night long. Eventually, their resilience paid off.

From the balcony, I saw coordinated teams of motivated, hardworking men going to work at sunset. In the morning, I saw them returning home after their night shift. It must have been a long night but their enthusiasm was on full display — as usual.

The author is on a tour of all 30 districts of Rwanda. His Karongi expedition is sponsored by The Click Creations, Ikaze Rwanda Tours & Travel, Kivu Tours and Travel, Rebero Kivu Resort and Imari Hose Ltd.

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