From the hot Sahel sands, south of the Sahara Desert to the cool Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of Canada?
My life is not merely two different places, but two cosmically different realities. I live in the constant transition of going from one place to the other, year after year.
In a few short days I leave Mali, West Africa and I will be back in Canada. I have done what I came to do here this term, it worked. I am extreemly encouraged by how things exploded forward this term.
Honestly, I never dreamed I would see what I’ve seen take place this year.
But it’s time to go home.
Fishing is calling my name. My other life needs me, and I need my other life too. The sea will be my new reality for a time.
Maybe it is a kind of humanitarian ADD? I learned a long time ago that I am not the guy for the long haul. I’m a start-from-nothing guy. I am the guy you bring in to kick the ass off something that needs wrestling to the ground, to get it moving, started, or fixed.
However, after that whupping, I get so incredibly bored with the routine that settles in.
I like not knowing what is coming next; routine stifles my soul, in Mali and in Canada.
Anyway, I’ve understood that I will probably never be moving back to Africa full time, like I used to do. I’m not solely a humanitarian anymore. I am a fisherman too, and proud to be a seaman. How many people get to be a man of the sea?
My fishing business needs me, but I also need it too.
I will soon be taking off my magic “Invisible Humanitarian” cape four six months, and return to being the simple Sea Captain I am. I’m going fishing.
The transition from sand to sea is radical. From extreme heat to cold. From dry parched Sahel, to watery waves. From landlocked Mali, to living back on Prince Edward island, where I am hemmed in by the ocean in every direction.
The last few days here in Mali, I find myself craving that sea air, the coolness of winter, and the coming spring work mornings the eastern coast of Canada offers to the senses. I can taste the salt air in my mouth as I write.
I can’t get another life. My family keeps waiting for the day that all of me comes home from Africa to Canada, but parts of me never do, probably never will, and I don’t want it to. Africa is part of me… wheather I am in Africa or not.
Yet, I cannot picture a life without fishing either.
The last few days my mind started making lists of all the things I need to do to get ready for the approaching fishing season. I’m waking up dreaming about the early morning fresh air, where, for almost six months each year, I get to see the sun rise almost every day- well, on fair days, that is. The vibrant pre-dawn colors, before they are bleached out when the sun gets too high. Then there are the days mother nature beats us with a wave stick, and we come hobbling to port, and to home, exhausted, with nothing left to give; you don’t dare haul a camera out in that weather.
Big changes for me this year in Canada. I’m setting down some different priorities.
I hope you enjoy these snippets about my life at sea. Catch you on the flip side.