Fishing the fish ponds

Out on Jomp’s Farm the fish are literally jumping out of the water as the farm  workers and the boys from Jan and Oscar House,  shoulder deep in brown, muddy water drag the big fishing net across the pond.  The water is alive with glistening bodies and scales and the fish are bunched together and slowly but inexorably dragged to the side of the pond. It’s time to give the small fish a chance to grow and so dredging the pond for the big fish started in October.  The catch was huge and was enough to be divided up into the six houses. There was a motley bunch of fish species thrashing around on the ground as the catch was landed – catfish, Blah Nim - a common variety - great for grilling over hot coals covered in salt and stuffed with lemon grass. Then there was a local fish that the old people recognised  that wasn’t purposefully bought when the tiny fish were first released into the ponds. It is known as Jelomet and it has a distinctive set of teeth on its lower jaw – teeth that resemble children’s teeth.  It  proved to be a bit of a celebrity as everyone gathered round to inspect it.  It also drew blood when it bit down on one of the boy’s fingers.  Despite its weirdness it was good to eat and will fill the kids’ stomachs for a few more weeks.