Shaun and Matt share a bounty of food
with the Fisherman
up our feet on the serene shores of Lake Baikal in
central Russia we had an
opportunity to meet a man of the earth and his family.
After taking a left turn from
the road, we weaved our way up a path towards the lake where we
were all keen to spend the night within view of one of the largest
fresh water lakes in the world. Finally the lake came into
view and looked perfect for everything we needed.
The only problem per se, is
that there were also a number of houses nestled down by the lake
edge - something that is not the ideal situation due to security
as well as respect for the locals. However we were all tired
and decided to make a go of it. Respectfully before setting
up our tents we walked over to what appeared to be a group of
fishermen untangling a net after harvesting the late evenings
They eyed us suspiciously but
after learning that we were foreigners the demeanor quickly
changed and we were all invited into the closest house by one
particularly boisterous and gregarious individual.
The Fisherman at work
actually learning his name, The Fisherman, as I will call him, was
like most Russians, once in the army and based in Kazakhstan.
Never once letting the conversation die to a lull, he introduced
us to his surprised family and quickly produced a feast of fresh
blueberries. raspberries, delicious smoked fish and tea which we
all consumed with relish and the continual prodding from our host
to have more.
His home had
the very basics with an unkempt yard and a house that barely
looked as if it could keep itself together. Obviously a home
of a family that was of meager means. Curling round our feet
were small kittens, outside the bark of dogs mixed in with the
clucks of the hens that provided the morning eggs. Goats
ambled through the yard and not far from the house cows provided
the milk which was used in many of the dishes they consumed each
Ilja tries out his rowing skills
of these obvious hardships it mattered not and we were all treated
to as much hospitality as he could afford and that much more.
After we set up our tents besides the shore, Ilja joined him
out on the row boat to once more collect some fish where he was
taken aback by Ilja's mastery of the oars.
following morning we were again invited in for breakfast and as is
usual in russia we had to insist on leaving when it was time to
continually amazed by how the people we are meeting are so warm,
generous and hospitable and they take it upon themselves to invite
us into their lives no matter how meager an existence it may be.
It always leads me to think how in the west we have so much more
in material wealth but seem so poor in this type of generosity.
Why is it so that those with the least seem to give the most?
And to think
he never told us his name . . . .