My experience in Pakistan

Firstly, I’d like to thank Masifundise for the opportunity to travel to Pakistan to attend the 5th General Assembly of the World Forum for Fisher People (WFFP). Since Sithembiso informed me of the trip, I used the Internet at the Langebaan Resource Centre to do my own research on what the conference was about and to see what Pakistan looked like. At first, I was a bit nervous but as time progressed, I became very excited. Flying to Pakistan was exhausting but also a wonderful experience and fortunately, I experienced no motion sickness. The reception on arrival in Pakistan was indescribable and completely overwhelming. I shared a room with a fellow participant, who did not understand a word I said, but at the end of the workshop, we both understood each other and we became very good friends.  My English improved by at least 40%. The workshop and General Assembly was both very informative with long sessions but I enjoyed every minute of it, and learnt much as other participants shared their experiences and challenges, and I ours. It is true one is never too old to learn.  All other related events were very well organized and of a world class standard. The food was good, just lots of chicken. My highlight was the March through the streets of Pakistan to the harbor. The moment was so overwhelming that I thought I may faint. It was very emotional when they started calling out all the countries names and South Africa was called out- I felt much honored to raise my hand- I felt like I was really doing it on behalf of all the small scale fishers in SA. The applause was great and I was very taken in with the moment. All in all, the trip was a both informative and very exciting. Currently, I am staying in touch with friends from the Phillipines and Thailand, and I look forward to another opportunity to see them again.

When I returned, I reported back to the Coastal Links branch and I am pleased to report that things are progressing well in Langebaan. Our branch is growing, and it seems that there is a renewed interest in the work of Coastal Links. Older members appear to understand the issues better and show a great interest in attending meetings etc.

Inclosing, I’d like to say that during my trip to Pakistan, I once again realized what a strong, experienced and calm leader we have in Naseegh, and on behalf of Coastal Links, Langebaan, we’d like to thank him, and the team at Masifundise for their leadership, knowledge and perseverance in the struggle with the government of the day. Thank you, you have given our fishers renewed hope.

God Bless you- Allita continua

Solene Smith – Langebaan

The 6th General Assembly of the WORLD FORUM FOR FISHER PEOPLE (WFFP) to be held in South Africa in 2013.