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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Fishing with the Indian Children Part 2

Updated: Jan 15

Continuing the story of the fishing trip I took with the boys at the Children's home in the Assam province of India, I'll refer you to the first part in case you missed it:

Now, Asaam is located in the far northeast corner of India. It is a very remote area with a mixture of nationalities due to the porous borders which are crossed by foot paths. It is located near Arunanchel Pradesh which I posted on before:

The children here long for adult attention. They called me Papa while I was there, both the boys and girls. The boys home was a separate location from the girls. I found the boys to be more independent than the girls, but still craved adult interaction.

I left you yesterday talking about all the things we did except fishing on this "fishing trip". I would say about 75% of the activities were absent of fishing.

The boys just wanted to be boys and clown around:

Some of the boys engaged in swimming but only a few. I expect most didn't know how to swim as I doubt they were taught at the home as there was no swimming water there. They likely picked up the skill prior to coming.

Some even mixed the swimming with the fishing. Not much fish caught this way!

Eventually we got around to the inevitable rock skipping contest. Some of the boys proved quite skillful in this.

Especially skillful was the winner who was one of the caretakers of the boys:

We did eventually make it around to doing some fishing. The boys cut their own bamboo rods and attached string and hook. There is no money here to buy fishings poles.

This was a bit nostalgic for me as I remember my father cutting me and my brother poles from tree limbs when I was very young. I expect this was a common practice here in the USA many years ago.

The children have few clothes and certainly no swimsuits. That's why you see most of them playing in the water in their underwear:

This was my best memory of the trip. Although the children broke off in their own groups to do various water/beach activities, I enjoyed it when a larger group would form and they fished together:

This youngster was so proud of his catch. It was the biggest fish caught that day. I still can vividly recall his words he said over and over with his distinct accent, "I just caught the biggest fish in the world!"

Well that was true in his world....

But we also have the smallest catch, and no that was not bait fish:

Nothing was thrown back. No size laws here!

Here was the daily catch;

And yes they were eaten!

At the end of the day the caretaker (I don't recall his name) and I gathered the boys to head back. But two of the boys were missing. They were a couple of the older boys.

Upon questioning the other children it appeared they took it upon themselves to walk back. Well, I felt responsible for those children. Even though one of the young caretakers was there with me, I felt primarily responsible as the older adult. So quickly we set off back to the home.

On the way we encountered the boys. I was quite angry and did not hide it from those two. They acted like it was not a big deal which further fueled my anger as I explained I was partially responsible for their safety. The caretaker was upset as well, but he's more of a corporal punishment guy as is common there. I really didn't want to resort to that.

When we arrived back, I informed the headmaster of the incident. He was very upset and told me he had problems with those boys before. He made the decision then and there to round those boys up and he took them back to their village. He kicked them out!

Many of the children have families, but they can't afford their children so they try to get them accepted here where they are fed and given a free English speaking education. It is a big deal to be kicked out and shamefully sent back home. I could see the discomfort on the children's faces when they were given the news, as the headmaster told them in front of me.

That brought a sad conclusion to this otherwise great excursion. I know it is a life event for most, if not all those young kids. Especially the ones sent back to their village!

I probably should have felt guilty about bringing about this expulsion, but I didn't. It's really the headmaster's decision how to properly run that home, and I thought he did a great job with his limited resources. You cannot allow a few aberrant children to be a large consumer of those scarce resources. There are always other children who will gladly take their place if they abuse the rules.

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