Thursday, April 2, 2009

The River Moa

           man fishing during the dry season - near Vaama Nongowa (double click to enlarge)

The River Moa flowed through the Eastern Province cutting from the mountains to our north out to the Atlantic.  From our house it was a 4 or 5 mile walk by bush road past the villages of Limba Corner and Vaama.  Just beyond Vaama one could get ferried by dugout canoe for a minimun fee to the other side of the river.  During the rain season the Moa could be high and the rapids dangerous. A canoe trip could be frightening as the canoes were quite tippy. The water flowed downstream quite quickly for most of the rains and at times there could be some minor flooding along the banks. During the dry season the River flowed to a trickle. Many times there were collecting pools where water became still and quite shallow.  The main River use was fishing many times done with nets. In those days there was no time for recreation and few Sierra Leoneans upcountry were accomplished swimmers.  For the most part The River Moa was just an obstacle to either avoid, or pass over to the other side.  Rich in its presence in Mendeland the River Moa runs from Guinea through Kailahun, Kenema, Bo, and Pujehun districts into the Atlantic ocean at Sulima forming one of the longest rivers in Sierra Leone. Both Moa and Mano Rivers had provided major transportation for the ferrying of commodities to the sea port at Sulima in what used to be known as Gbeima Chiefdom. Gbeima and Soro were amalgamated in the late 50s into what is now Soro-Gbema Chiefdom. Gbeima Chiefdom was the primary port of entry for both the colonial masters and their surrogate traders trading in Piassava, Cocoa, Palm Kernel, coffee, and kola nuts. These were the main commodities at the time. In return, the traders brought in tobacco, sugar and refined salt. Before then, salt was locally extracted from the ocean. There were illuminating towns with stores all along Moa River to a point in Moala (next to Zimmi Makpei), and along Malee to a point in Waakul (Roberts port) in Cape Mount [from Sulima information web]

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