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500 hours afloat with fishermen: Part 2

Meals on the waves of homeless lives

09:06 | 29/09/2020

"The daily activities including eating and sleeping of 9 seafarers facing a lot of obstacles to survive together on about 4m2 cabin"

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meals on the waves of homeless lives

Wearing a raincoat a must during a whole sunny day.

Chef "elephant leg" Nhot stood at horse stance, flexed his arm's muscles, resisted the shaking and jerk of the ship and put the rice cooker in the middle of the cabin, 8 more people, including myself, got in turn, sat around the bag made from jute used as a tray for meal. Strangely, why everyone is wearing raincoats at mess. The rice pot was turned on, the arms quickly scooped the rice into the bowl, whoever kept eating, didn't say anything. It turned out that the seafarers had their own rules, everyone had to gather at mess but nothing should be said. High-speed meals of seafarers, thought to be in peace.

Unexpectedly, when Den was putting the bowl down for taking some soup, two loud, noisy consecutive waves rushed into the cabin. The water covered the rice tray, making the soup pot just over-slapped and full.

meals on the waves of homeless lives

Meals on the waves of homeless lives

meals on the waves of homeless lives
A meal in rush of 9 people inside a 4-square-metre cabin

The adversity brings wisdom, Thoi always follows the standing style to eat, stirring a bowl full of rice like offering rice, then grabbing a few large pieces of fish, standing until finishing eating .

About the life on the boat, the output seems be much harder than the input. A raincoat is always attached to the body, even having to deal with personal needs, especially when going to toilet at the end of the ship, not only having to balance the ship's tilt, swing, and reversal, but was it also a big problem to avoid getting wet from head to toe by waves.

meals on the waves of homeless lives

Disseminating all his experiences and showing me a safe way of living when eating, drinking ...at sea, Thoi happily said, just do wear a raincoat for sure, because if every day you get wet by waves, you won't have clean water to wash clothes and you get scabies, so the better way is wearing a raincoat when it doens't rain.

Homeless sleeping

Sleeping on the waves is as same hard as stated eating. There are 9 people on the boat with 4m2 cabin used for both daily eating and sleeing at night. On rainy and windy days, 9 people are uncomfortably lying spoon-fashion. I don't know about them, but every night, after sleeping together in the cabin, finding a place to lie down, I keep getting sore. How I lie down in the evening, it will be in the same posture to wake up in the next morning.

The scene of sleeping is like with ám clasping, one person kicks his foot in the face, stomach and even on the private part of the other person, few nights to hear no sleeping person shouting for being kicked due to other sleepers' dreaming.

On days of quiet sea, Quy and Tam Hung bring blankets to the bow of the ship to sleep, Hung optimistically self - encouraged: “Well, sleeping outside is a bit cold, in return, we have sea as a bed, take heaven as a curtain, spoiled for watching thousands of stars. But, the smell of fish, it always sticks to our mouth and nose. I didn't know what is the heaven Tam Hung imagined but I heard his offer to sleep one night, woke up and saw that the hair, clothes, blankets and pillows were white of fish scales.

The place we laying at night was the one put many fish during the day before kept in the salty cellar. The fish were stored into the cellar, but the scales were as abundant as the stars, and the fishy smell was still strong.

Many nights waves covers the cabin, wearing a raincoat is not enough. If we want to sleep, we have to sit graspings the knees and the doze off for the rest of the night. It was thought the ship I was on found me the hardest for a place to sleep, but unexpectedly other ships are more frustrated. Fishermen had to take it in turns to lie down near the bow due to no available place for possible spoon-fashion lying like we did.

The current conditions of ships and fishermen, in addition to the extreme difficulty when going far at wide sea and big waves, seafarers faces many obstacles of poor conditions for eating and sleeping. That can only make a batch of fish, contributing to the achievement of "billion dollars" export seafood of our country.

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Translated by Tarah Nguyen

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