Get More out of Moa River in Sierra Leone

Get More out of Moa River in Sierra Leone

Get More out of Moa River in Sierra Leone

By / Rivers / Tuesday, 17 July 2018 01:10

I only have one friend in Sierra Leone. For now. His name is James Hallowell. I still consider him as a friend even though we last talked more than fifteen years ago when he was the National Focal Point of a United Nations Environment Program youth project that I was leading. I thought of James when I sat down to write this article on Sierra Leone’s Moa River.

As is often the case with most rivers, this river doesn’t just ‘belong’ to Sierra Leone alone but also to other countries in the region. It starts its epic journey in the highlands of Guinea and thunders southwest to form the border of Sierra Leone and Guinea before racing into Sierra Leone to form the border of Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Many of the villages that dot the Moa River’s riverbanks are quite remote, rarely visited by outsiders. Inhabiting these villages are Sierra Leoneans whose wealth of knowledge about the river is immense. They have been living next to the river for centuries and to many, it even has spiritual significance. They know the seasons when the river roars mightily as it powers on to the lands beyond and when it seems to trudge along wearily. They know which fish abound in the river’s cold waters and how those fish taste.

Every morning before the sun peeps out of its Eastern horizon, they jump into dugout canoes and paddle into the river’s embrace, either for transport or fishing. As they do this, they hear and feel the river’s morning dawn swoosh as it hisses at the water birds that answer with their own lively wake-up chirps.

Although the villagers of Sierra Leone are firmly engraved into this orchestra of nature that is harmoniously conducted by River Moa, their indigenous knowledge is unfortunately largely confined to their minds, hearts and huts. We must engage them not just as sources of research but as peers who are reliable, age-old custodians of the river.

Author

DJ Bwakali

DJ Bwakali

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