POCKET FRIENDLY LUNCH AT GABAT
With Odongo Odoyo
When my friend and his friend who are all my sons, invited me for lunch yesterday, l thought they would take me to one of the leading restaurants in the city. You know at our age, it is now for eating well to live longer, but Chol Anei and Emma Loro had a different idea which l came to appreciate most after the fabulous fish-eating meal at Gabat on the riverside. On entering, Chol alighted at the gate of the entrance to order and found me and Emma having sat down. The good thing was that seats were scattered around and one had to arrange for him/herself with around stool in the middle where the tray full of well parked and different soupswere placed with ladies who seemed to know all about what they were doing. It did not take us long before ours arrived well-made fish; two full tilapia or so, l thought without soup and a dish of fresh one with soup. I was enjoying my meal but one thing kept on snugging my mind. It was like within 30 or so minutes, l had been sitting under this tree, l had counted more than one hundred people who were all coming to eat. All of them were coming for fish. And all of them sat in groups eating and chatting. They did not waste time.Once one group finished, they had to leave voluntarily for another group to sit. I saw a potential market for fish which could go for both eating and marketing. I really wanted to know and l was told that all the fish eaten there came from local fishermen and cooked by local women who were itching a living out of the same. Sure, this small fish business could be translated into big business. If the authorities concerned could make life possible for the fishermen and traders at Gabat and the surrounding, this untapped sector could in itself generate enough to make life different for both the fishermen and the women traders. I was disturbed when l was told that probably the small scale traders were only serving the interests of major players who were keeping aloof and did not want to be known to avoid paying required taxes to the government. What l would like to preach here is that there is potential of making this trade vibrant starting from Gabat to outside markets. But for fish lovers, l must say l should be having a date with Gabat almost a day every week. Still l would like to appeal to the authorities that they should not ignore improving the fish-eating area and ensure that hygiene was given the first priority to save any eventual outbreak from affecting the eating community and the public at large. A crowded place without taking into account the coronavirus measures as laid down by the Ministry of Health and other key players is still dangerous to the public. Let there be operational order in this place and other eating dens which are pocket friendly to the public.