One of the memorable moments of our visit to Nzema was a day trip to our father’s farm in Sowodademu, near the border with Côte d’Ivoire. He has had the land there and farmed it for quite a while. When we used to live in Accra in the early 1990s, he would return from his occasional trips to Nzema with bushels of plantains, bananas, and palm-nuts. Nowadays, he has turned to fish-farming, tilapia and catfish specifically, and he wanted to show us what he’s been doing with his time during retirement.
It was a drive from Bonyere to Sowodademu. Along the way we stopped in a village which was having a market day and bought a few supplies. We got to our destinations and left the car along the road. I got on my gumboots, and the others changed their foot gear as well. We cut through bush and jungle. We walk through a cocoa farm, and then a rubber farm.
|One of the fish ponds|
Close by is a hut with a table and two benches where we get to relax and later dine.
A group of men are gathered and we watch them attempt to harvest fish from the ponds. Attempt because it took several tries while Daddy yelled at them to do it this way not that way before we got sufficient fish to eat. They start at one end of the pool holding their nets along the entire length and sweep from that end to the other. The fish try their best to jump out of the net and back into the water.
When we collect enough fish, we start to prepare them. Even though Mama had gutted them, they were still flapping around in my hand when I tried to descale them. The dogs on the farm would eat every little thing that got to the ground. I soon tired of fighting my fish and handed them over to a young boy to complete preparing them. Then they were seasoned. The boys created a cooking space with rocks and wood collected around and the fish was grilled. It smelled so delicious.
|Catfish (above) and tilapia (below)|
Inside the care-taker’s home, fresh chicken was being fried, and plantains, attieke, and fresh pepper were also being prepared. Everything was so fresh and so delicious. Oh my God, it was delicious. The boys climbed the coconut trees on the farm and we washed down our meals with coconuts. Daddy took the opportunity to remind us that his grandfather owned a large coconut farm.
Even the chickens and dogs enjoyed the day.
|This is how the puppy fell asleep|
I thought the whole experience was worthy of a tourist expedition, a money making venture for the family. Imagine. You trek through a bush, watch fish being farmed or even participate yourself, help prepare and cook that fish then relax and enjoy it. And if you want more than just the fish, you can get a different meal from the on-site kitchen.
It was really, really nice. A great picnic.