Obunga Skeleton Dealers View Story | Overview

Kisumu, Kenya / December 2010

Obunga is a slum on the outskirts of Kisumu on the Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria. Four factories in Kisumu produce tens of thousands of nile perch fillets every day, bound for the European market. The leftovers are sold to Obunga’s ‚Skeleton Dealers’: They clean the fishbones, fry them and sell them on local marketplaces as poor man’s fish.

Seline Achieng has been working in the fishbone business for ten years. The work is incredibly hard and she gains little. But it is enough to feed her family and pay the school fees for her children and even for her orphaned nephews.

Kisumu, Kenya / December 2010

Obunga is a slum on the outskirts of Kisumu on the Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria. Four factories in Kisumu produce tens of thousands of nile perch fillets every day, bound for the European market. The leftovers are sold to Obunga’s ‚Skeleton Dealers’: They clean the fishbones, fry them and sell them on local marketplaces as poor man’s fish.

Seline Achieng has been working in the fishbone business for ten years. The work is incredibly hard and she gains little. But it is enough to feed her family and pay the school fees for her children and even for her orphaned nephews.

Seline Achieng is frying fish skeletons in Obunga, a slum in the outskirts of Kisumu on the shore of Lake Victoria, Kenya.
The skeletons are the leftovers from the nile perch fillets that are exported to europe
The fishbones are cleaned and dried before they're being fried
In Kisumu there are four big factories that sell nile perch fillets to Europe - and all of them follow a strict no-photo-policy
For most inhabitants of Obunga the fish frying business is the only chance of a making a little money - sometimes there are not enough fishbones available, and prices go up.
The fish frying buisiness is a neatly organised production chain: Some workers chop fish heads in halfes -
Theresa is washing fishbones all day. She moved to Kisumu from a rural area after her husband had died.
Theresa is washing fishbones all day. She moved to Kisumu from a rural area after her husband had died.
A young boy is delivering clean water.
Theresa shelters from the rain for a short break. She moved to Kisumu from a rural area after her husband had died.
Seline argues with the lady who buys her fish and sells it on on the market. The price is never right.
Seline argues with the lady who buys her fish and sells it on on the market. The price is never right.
A day's production of fried fish.
Seline on the way to her house in the slum of Obunga
Preparing dinner for the kids. Her own children are all adults, but she cares for her brother's children now after he died.
Effi, Seline's stepdaughter, tidies the house when she comes back from school
The daily meal consists mostly of Ugali and some vegetable - just enough to make sure that the children don't go hungry
The family hardly ever eat any of the fish Seline is frying all day long. She sells it all on to the market.
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