When Your Eyes Are Old – Fishing Old (Part 1)

Something rather atypical has sparked a contemplation of my elderly-ness.

You would not believe what I have been doing in the evenings here in Mali, West Africa, after I take the Invisible Humanitarian cape off.  This picture summarizes it….

Net Webbing I am using to make eel nets.

I have been making eel nets. Well, been trying to.

The evenings are long here, with not much to do, and no one to do it with. So I set to being productive for my fisherman life back in Canada.  I have been putting it off, but finally had to get to it, as I will need these new nets this coming summer.

Someone asked me if I brought the net webbing from home. That was a very good question.

Well, actually, I bought the net web right here in the Sikasso market , Mali, West Africa.  People do fish in the rivers here. They make throw-nets, and little cage nets. So some basic fishing supplies are there, but limited in range. They  have nothing I need for any other type of fishing I do. But they do have the webbing size I need for eel nets.

However, thought they do have the mesh size I need for eel nets,  only one little cubbyhole in the whole town had heavy enough webbing for my purposes. They generally use much thinner product than I do.

I cleaned the guy out of about $500 worth of net webbing supplies so that I could get to work on the weekend. Kassim Sanogo  was all smiles  as he measured me the yards I needed. I doubt that they have people buying as many yards as I did that day.

First I had to go find scissors.

My $3:00    (1300 CFA) Chinese scissors.

It did not take long to find what I needed.  I bought two pairs of these tailoring sheers, for three dollars each. I knew I would dull several pairs with the work I had to do. They worked well enough. Though I had to stop to tighten the nut every five minutes or so.

I set out to measuring the size I needed.  I had to hand count 100 meshes wide, by 5 yards long. Then I had to individually cut out all 36 net patterns. I worked for eleven hours and managed to cut out twenty four by two in the morning.

I went to bed, and in the morning I picked up where I left off a few hours earlier.  By noon I had cut out all thirty six net patterns. I then set to designing the funnels. But I first must  make sure the funnels hang properly, buy doing one complete net first, so that I don’t waste material, if I discover need to make changes in the pattern.

It consumed another two hours to stitch the first funnel onto the main body of the net. I easily have at least 12 hours more work on this one net.

I was so cross-eyed by mid afternoon, I could do no more. I had to quit for the day.

My eyes, my old aching eyes.  My eyes feel their age.

Part 2 – When Your Hair is Grey

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