Farming saved me from ‘Jaboya’ sex for fish

John Oyare cuts the image of a man at peace with what he is doing currently – he has a past.

His homestead in Karachuonyo, Homa Bay County, is not far from Lake Victoria, where he says his life was fading away before he saw the light.

Oyare was a fisherman like a significant number of men who live near the lake, but he would not get enough, not even to feed his family, no matter how hard he tried.

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Much of his catch and earnings disappeared in what locals refer to as ‘Jaboya’ which loosely translates into the business of exchanging sexual favours for fish.

“I never had any meaningful income from whatever I was doing and most often my family would go hungry,” says Oyare, a husband of two wives and a father of eight.

Oyare’s homestead is overflowing with produce of all manner, and he is a fisherman on another scale. He has a poultry shed, dairy goats, horticultural farm, and three fish ponds by the lake. Add to this, there are fruits of all manner within the compound.

The turning point came after a training in which Oyare learnt a few tips on farming and saving. And from a man who would struggle to spend his money between his two wives and an extra woman by the lakeside, he turned into a model farmer that many now emulate in the village.

“I sold my two boats and left fishing altogether for the farm after the first training by World Vision in 2013 and this was coupled with other challenges like dwindling catch and the issue of sex for fish,” he recounts.

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The farmer also sold an indigenous goat that he had at Sh2,000 and bought four chickens.

Oyare’s home stands on five acres while he has another half-acre parcel and the lakeside on leasehold. While he initially would make just about Sh200 every day, he now earns an average of Sh800, yet he does not have to buy food since all he needs comes from his farm.

He says, “I lost five of my children due to malnutrition because the Sh200 I would make daily would not suffice, forcing me to borrow to make ends meet.”

Eight chicks are all that the farmer needed to kick start a new life; World Vision added him 25 more. Poultry business being a cycle, he has seen the numbers grow as he nurtures the animals for the market. The farm now has 85 cross breed chicken which he will sell soon. From 2013 he has reared more than 250 chicken.

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 “Some of these lay eggs and we have never gone without eggs here, which means even without any other food to eat, we will still have eggs,” says Oyare.

From the three ponds that he constructed beside the lake Oyare says he gets more than what he used to get from fishing in the lake. Add to these, he also started rearing pigeons as a motivation for his son – a secondary school student – who has sickle cell anaemia.

The farm now has 18 pigeons which are also sold as delicacies. Apart from these Oyare also has two dairy goats from which the family gets milk for consumption at home.

Oyare’s wives – Pamela and Gaudensia – say that a lot has changed ever since he left the lake. 

Sex for lifeFarmingJohn Oyare