This is James town , a fishing community in Accra...

March 20th, 2014, 3pm

It was 31°C with clouds and visibility OK. There was moderate breeze.

A lot was going on at the beach …

But mostly people preparing their boats for fishing, and fishermen sewing their nets. We settled on the boats ashore, trying to understand all the activities going on.

Children learning how to swim… My companion pointing out to me: “what are that guy and girl doing in the water?” I don’t know … I think it is a teach-me-to swim-and-you-can-fondle-me … situation.

We looked, sometimes commenting, other times not commenting. There was a lot in sight we couldn’t immediately make sense of: fathers washing their baby’s butt in the waters, people arguing about what seemed as jazz to me.

My remark on what was happening was: is this the life of the fishing community – living small, not aspiring for much. The sea was within their reach and it provided them with all they ever wanted. The sea was their mother … And so they seemed aggressive, hot headed, and talked loud a lot. They have had to speak against the roaring waves of the sea so much … it has left them husky strong loud voices. Women have it. Men have it. Young adults have it. And children are developing it.

Looking at this and taking it all in, I wondered how a camera could capture this. This was life unraveling every minute, showing character and possibilities.

Possibilities …

Right in front of us there was a young man training two other young men. He showed strong character and discipline with his composure and the way he pushed up. My companion and I thought he must be a boxer. We thought this because the fishing community is known for producing all the boxers in the country …

We became more interested in this disciplined character the more he trained with his mates.

We couldn’t resist, so we spoke to Felix:

“I have been playing for the Ghana Rugby team for about two years now. People always ask me that – why rugby? – when I tell them I play Rugby. I like the discipline. I like the power of the game. It’s a pretty simple game and the strongest and fastest side always wins. This game has allowed me to travel a lot, you know. I have played in Ivory Coast, Cameroun and many more countries …”

We asked if he fished.

“Hahaha, I am not a fisherman. I grew not far from here but I have lived close by for about two years now. Most people here can speak broken English; most of the guys have finished school, you know. Only they say there are no jobs out there – and that’s why they come to fish. But I don’t agree. I think they give up too quickly and don’t keep trying hard enough. Nothing comes easy, you know. Sometimes I wonder why they are not able to learn this lesson, maybe it’s because of the sea. The sea gives to them easily a lot of the times. But even that, there is some struggling. The tides. The struggle in the boats. Leakages. Such is life , you know – and the lesson is everywhere, hard work is important for success.”

Broken English is a Ghanaian pidgin consisting of a hybrid of English words and those of other local languages as well as words invented only for it.

Adrian said thanks.

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Samuel Alomenu

I write. I sketch. I mull over things and I think about alternatives. @sammidelali

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