In the late part of the 90’s, on the last boat I worked on, the Ocean Rover, there were three or four absolutely lovely African women who worked in the fish factory below-decks. It’s like a tonic for me to bring up the distant memory of their smiling faces and high laughter – smiling no matter the weather, the long hours, the heaving of the ship – and more, the singing. It’s the singing that makes my heart swell with the simple memory, so wonderful were their voices in harmony, rising above the grinding and screeching of the conveyors and fish slicing machinery. They sang all the time, it seemed. We were so very lucky on that boat.
These were such happy people, the happiest on the boat – that boat that had a dozen or so nationalities as any given time. They are reason that I discovered Angelique Kidjo and a host of others from places like Mali and Cape Verde.
We carry all the psychological medicine we need right inside ourselves. It’s just a matter of bringing up those memories whenever they may be needed.