MEMORIES OF BENGAL
"I will make you fishers of men"
Each year in Bangladesh the Rains or Rainy Season comes as a great relief after the heat and baked earth of the Hot Weather. As the snows melt in the Himalayan mountains, so the rivers swell and the floods cover the flat lands of Ben gal and Bangladesh right up to the Bay of Bengal. They bring down mud but not pebbles (the children in Barisal had never seen pebbles until I showed them some I had collected in Darjeeling) and help to fertilise the land, assisting the growth of rice and other crops. In the villages, houses are built on plinths on the raised mud islands which are at least a yard higher than the rice fields which surround them, and travel across the fields in the Rains is by boat only.
At Barisal on the land where the Church and houses had been built the large lake-like 'tanks' sometimes overflowed, and various devices were put into practice to prevent the fish from escaping.
Each year baby fish were bought and put into the tanks, and later when they had grown they were caught, sometimes by rod and line, and sometime by a large rectangular net the width of the tank and weighted at the bottom, which was dragged from one end to the other. As this took place, to the great joy of the watching children, some of the larger fish jumped out of the water and escaped behind the net.
Fishing the tanks was only allowed when there was to be a Feast, as at Christmas and Easter or any other special occasion.
Questions for the children:
1) In the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, how many loaves and how many fish were blessed by Jesus to feed them?
2) What did Jesus mean when He said, "I will make you fishers of men"?
3) Name two different ways in which fish can be caught.
4) Name five fish which are found in the rivers in this country and the seas surrounding it.
5) How many fish have you caught, and what did you use to do so?
WINIFRED, Mother S.E.