Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crossing the Moa

above: The Ferryman heading back to the other side of the River Moa from near Vaama Nongowa - 1969

above: Patrick Garlough on bush road to the River Moa (near Vaama Nongowa 1969)

above: here my friend Patrick Garlough shows how dugout canoes are made in this picture taken in Vaama Nongowa - 1969. This small dugout canoe, made from a log that has been hollowed out, has sticks present providing pressure on the canoe's sides to keep the sides from narrowing in the drying process. As we walked through the small village of Vaama we found this leaning against the back of one of the houses.

above: The River Moa from near Vaama during the early rain season

above: crossing the Moa with my friend Patrick Garlough and behind him a man from Vaama Nongowa

above: not too happy with my turning around to take this picture, when we got to the other side of the River (Moa) she chewed me out royally.

above: after crossing the River Moa in this ferry - and getting chewed out by this woman for taking a picture and causing the boat to shake, I took her and her daughter's picture and later returned to give her a copy. Rain Season - 1969. Near Vaama Nongowa.

Within 6 miles of our house was the River Moa. Used for local fishing the Moa flowed in a torrent during the rain season of May to October, and by the end of the dry season it was mainly a trickle. In order for me to get to the river on foot, I traveled by bush path behind our house and near the St. Paul's Primary School. This path traveled first through what was locally called Limba Corner and then at about 3 to 4 miles, through the village of Vaama. Just beyond Vaama was the river. I spent considerable time near Vaama in those days, checking out my friend Pa Sam's farm, and sometimes trying to help him with the brushing. Pa Sam grew upland rice in the hills surrounding Vaama. He and his wife Massa worked the land there successfully and produced enough rice for their needs and to give away to friends who were in need. At other times I would take these bush paths to the river where I would wait for the ferry (a hollowed out log) to come pick me up and take me across. I did have friends from Kenema whose villages were on the other side, and from time to time I would go to these villages and visit. The ferry was narrow, and led by a man at the back who paddled 3 or 4 of us for a small fee. Although we never had problems crossing the Moa, I did get chewed out by a woman after I had turned around in the boat to take a picture. When we all got to the other side, she chastised me for causing the boat to shake and making her quite upset that it might tip (it didn't). I apologized profusely and she calmed down enough so we could head off without anger. As a present for her - I took her and her daughter's picture and later returned to her village to give it to her. I owed her for my foolishness and she appreciated the thought.

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