I’m sure you’re wondering what that title means, and don’t worry, I will explain. I just wanted to–get ready for the bad pun–“reel” you in first.
March 8th is International Women’s Day, a holiday that is very much celebrated in Moldova. This year, it was on a Friday, making it a long weekend, and so I went down to another volunteer’s village to spend the weekend with his host family.
The village is about three hours outside the capital, and a stone’s throw from Ukraine. The house almost borders the river that separates the two countries, and from time to time you can spot border patrol on the other side.
On women’s day, we had a hearty feast, and then spent the night visiting neighbors, stuffing ourselves with more food, and toasting to women. Time spent with the locals produces some of the most rewarding and interesting memories.
The next day, our host mom decided she wanted to go fishing, and so after a morning walk, we met her on the banks to try our luck at catching some fish. And this is where the title comes in.
If I’m saying this right, the primary kind of fish in the river there is carp. What’s funny is the word for “carp” in Romanian is actually “crap.” I later explained this to the host family, between giggles (“crap, in English, means…when you go to the toilet”), and they got quite a kick out of it. So. We went fishing for “crap.”
It was all very interesting. They didn’t have a fishing rod, but instead had wrapped fishing line around cardboard, tying a rock to the end of the line, and then three lines with hooks at the end, evenly spaced at the rock end of the line. No women were fishing along the river, only men, and mostly older men. Our host was the only woman, and I was proud of her for that. She unraveled the line, carefully so as not to tangle it, and attached some worms to the hooks. Then, leaving lots of slack and checking over her shoulder to see that nothing was in the way, she picked up the line and swung it around several times before letting it fly into the water (plunk!). Then she attached the remaining line to a stick on the side of the river, and tied a small bag with dirt to it so that we would know when we caught something.
Unfortunately we were unlucky fishermen that afternoon, but the experience was great. We did go back later that evening and ended up catching one good-sized fish. And that, my friends, I would call a success.