Sunday, July 17, 2011

The grand pond opening

Monday was a much-anticipated day. For the city of Kananga, President Kabila was expected to arrive, and for several days there had been frantic road-repairing, sweeping of boulevards, and political meetings. For us, the focus of the day was the opening of Tatu Henri’s fish-pond.

We woke up early so we could arrive by 7am at his house in the valley. Before we left the house, I tried flipping the light-switch—it worked! Bob smiled, “Ah, the president is coming!” he said. Electricity in the morning, what luxury!

We arrived at Tatu’s Henri’s home in the valley just as he was digging a break in the wall of his fish-pond. Bob helped dig the break in the wall. while all the kids watched eagerly. The water began to spill out, and we watched excited fish swimming and playing in the receding water.

P1100150When most of the water has receded, the kids jump into the mud and start hunting for the largest fish. This pond had been there 6 months, but most of the fish were still small because of lack of resources to feed them properly. That did not seem to matter to the kids though; the excitement in the air felt almost like Christmas morning in our culture.

hunting for fish

Daniel, the oldest of the kids “fishing,” was an expert at catching the fish with his hands.

Daniel with fish

   Each time the kids caught a fish, the would hold it up for the camera. “Papa Bob! Papa Bob! Look!”

kids catching fish

When all the fish are collected into a bucket, Mamu Mbuyi rinses off the mud.P1100279

When all the fish were cleaned, Mamu Mbuyi showed us how to prepare the fish for cooking. She cuts off the fins and tail, scrapes off the scales, and scoops out the inner parts that are not good to eat. This was a first for Kristi! Mamu Mbuyi was amused at how naive I was in this process!


Tatu Henri held his baby daughter, Luse Kristi (Kristi’s “Shakena”) while mom cleaned fish.


And the final product: Bidia and fried fish. Delicious, but I must admit it was not quite what my stomach was used to for breakfast! 

Bidia and bikele



A fun occasion and hospitality that I think even the president would have enjoyed. :) We went home with happy stomachs and happy hearts.  By 10 we had had a full day!  We were grateful for this occasion of participating in “life” of our Congolese friends! 

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