El Capitan, the prehistoric Nile Perch

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague sends out teams of investigators to conflict-ridden and violent sites that incurred war crimes genocide and mayhem. Since 2005 I have been attached to the International Criminal Court as a Psycho-social Gender Victims Expert. We are dropped into zones of great tensions and unease. Our vehicles are unmarked but the uniform standard of United Nations transport vehicles.

The ecological and environmental disasters from violence and global warming have decreased the prehistoric Nile Perch, L. niloticus species, and population. However, the Nile Perch in regions of great poverty and despair are oddly flourishing with the conditions of war and violence. Sent to zones where I would not see any element of comfortable conditions, food and accommodations, I would inquire the assigned local staff on what was the best food and vegetables to be eaten on the trip along with fresh water source. I often begged to go to their local market and told it is too dangerous. Of course, I would be able to scout the local markets but always with a body guard or security.

While Chad is a sub-Sahara region, desert in terrain, Lake Chad and the tributary of the Nile River, which is 4135 miles in length, is more than enough water for the Nile Perch is known as El Capitan. The ICC coordinator meets our team at the air strip and promptly bragged about his grilling the El Capitan as the best in the world. I never heard of the fish. A few days later I was given a picture of the Nile Perch and I proclaimed it to be the ugliest and meanest looking fish in the world. The size of the Nile Perch was huge, as fishing stories often exaggerate. Yet, I could not deny the picture of three men holding the Nile Perch catch in the photo.

It started in Chad, the competition for the best Nile Perch under genocidal and the residue of war crimes atrocities that would continue into the Congo- Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Malakal, and in Uganda, near Murchison Falls and Jinga. Blood and Honey recipes are from the most poverty stricken and caustic aftermath if not during horrific conflicts heal the traumatized and soothe outsiders such as myself with their bioculinary richness…. With each trip I brought packets of spices and essential oils for cooking purposes to marry with the native spices and often sparse spices and food stuff in war ridden countries.