Ecological anthropology, area studies, the dynamism of people’s livelihood in the Lake Chad Basin, human ecology, methods for creating wider regional development by combining small development projects.
Anthropological research on the fluctuation of fishery resources and the transformation of the related fishing villages of the inland aquatic environments in central and western Africa
Since 2003 I have been carrying out research in Cameroon. At first, I was conducting research on rivers in the tropical rainforest in the southern part of the country. There I interacted with local fishermen and met migrant workers who came from the savannah in the north of Cameroon. Their hometowns are in a place over 1,000km away from where I was conducting my fieldwork. As such, I became interested in the life of these fishermen who came from miles away to fish. After writing up my pre-doctorate thesis (equivalent to a master’s thesis) in 2006, I began a new fieldwork in their hometown situated in northern Cameroon. I took this step because I felt that by putting myself in the same environment in which they grew up, I might understand the ways in which their lives had been shaped.
Photograph: The floodplain around the end of the rainy season. The moor is flooded with water (31st October, 2006).
Photograph: The floodplain after the water has receded. The grasses which grow on the floodplain dry up. Pastoral people such as the Fulbe and Arab Shore send hundreds of cattle and goats to graze.
Their hometowns in, the eastern part of the Far North Region , the northern most region of Cameroon, have an annual precipitation of only 650mm and there is no rain at all for the dry season, namely for eight months of every year. For most of the time the land is dry, cracked and desolate. But even on such desolated land, water flows perpetually throughout the year in the Logone River. This river is a natural border shared with the Republic of Chad. The Logone River starts to flood every November, and generates roughly 110,000 of floodplains. The floodplains bring diverse sustenance not only for humans but to all living things. Before and after the flood season, people plant corns and paddy-field rice. Then during the flood season, the land becomes a place of reproduction for animals and plants, and functions as a location of food-storage. Certainly, people also fish, hunt and gather food there.