The guide was sweating profusely after paddling the canoe to get us here. I bought us a round of soft drinks at the local bar so he could cool off and have a rest.
Raffia is a palm tree that flourishes in the Amansuri wetlands. It’s used to build almost everything in the village: the walkways, floors, buildings and even the benches in this bar.
I support local crafts people as much as possible, and these souvenir Nzulezu canoes were nearly irresistible. But I was afraid it would get broken on the way back, so I settled for a photo.
After the soft drinks, our guide took us to meet with the village chief who, as is customary, asked me the reason for my visit.
These squares are scratched into the walkways
for a children’s hopscotch type game.
The chief told us the history of the village. In a nutshell, the people migrated from Mali to escape their enemies. After moving numerous times, it was finally in this place that their God told them it was safe to settle down, so they built the village here. Although about 450 people live here in the original Nzulezu village over the water and will never leave, some have moved to New Nzulezu on land.
As this is a difficult and inconvenient place to live, it’s hard to attract school teachers to come here to live and teach their children.