Diving and catching fish was a core part of my postdoctoral project. Over 800 fish belonging to almost 60 different species were caught over the course of the past two years in Lake Tanganyika. This ambitious mission was only possible with the amazing help of several great and super experienced Zambian divers. Today, I was informed that Nageti died in Congo during a dive while trying to help his diving buddy who ran out of air. By sharing his air, Nuget ran out of air himself and both died before reaching the surface.
In the near of Mpulungu, in a remote village bordering Lake Tanganyika, some men were trained as divers for the aquarium trade years ago. Since their former trainer and employer left, these guys lost their main income. As most other people in these villages, they now make a living from catching fish with old nets to feed their family and to sell leftovers on the market. As the Kwacha (Zambian currency) loses value daily, the poor people struggle even more. Survival is not guaranteed in this part of the world. So what to do if somebody offers you a profitable but highly dangerous job in Congo? Sure, you are aware that you could leave a family with three kids behind if something goes wrong. On the other hand the instalments for the metal roof on the tiny stone house isn’t paid yet…
Despite awareness of the danger involved in diving down to depth of 50 meters (Congo side of the Lake), the men accept the job and hope for the best.
I feel so helpless today. Nageti was one of the most amazing people I’ve known. Most strikingly I remember his joyful and humorous nature. Walking around in a shirt with more holes than fabric he always smiles. Life is good. Furthermore, he was a warm hearted, kind person I could rely on 100 percent. My heart is broken by the news of his early death and I wish one more time that this world wasn’t so damn unfair! Nugeti, I will never forget you. You are the second friend I lost this way and it feels so unreal. May you be in a better place now. Rest in peace my dear friend💔🙏