Mbita is a town close to Lake Victory where fishermen use solar light to attract fish at night in the lake. The solar lamps replace kerosene lamps and are provided by a German company named Osram.
With approximately 175,000 fishermen alone living at the shores of Lake Victoria, eco-friendly solar lamps save them to buy expensive kerosene.
Kerosene lamps are harmful to health and the environment. The mineral oil used in the kerosene lamps consistently pollutes the lake and drinking water.
By using solar lamps the fishermen can fish much longer than using Kerosene laterins, and they can catch four to fives times more fish. Instead of the usual 3 hours on the lake they can stay out more than twelve hours at a time, but the down side is the fish stock are depleting much faster.
I spent two days on Lake Victoria fishing with fishermen the fish called Omena. It can be fried, served with rice, can be cooked in milk and can be cooked in coconut juice.
They use solar lamps to attract the fish.
The fishermen did not speak much English, they were great and patient with me and shared their food. They were all businessmen: “Mr. Greene we go to work now, this is our work and this is where we work, on this lake, you must understand we are happy in our work, as you must be in yours, so we will do our work and you will do yours and make good pictures, we are men and must work to live”…
In broken English they spoke of dreams, which were simple, the wanted to have boats that belonged to them, a little more money from fishing to give to their families, maybe a motorbike. They were tired of working for others who they had to pay to be able to fish on the lake.
Before heading out that first day out into the night on the lake, I waved to the people on the shore, they told me “never wave good bye, because you do not know where you’re going and may not ever come back, it is bad luck to wave good bye or say good bye”. When I left them, that last time I did not wave goodbye, just nodded my head and silently said to myself we would see each other again on the other side.