On our final morning in Zambia, SA, we met a man named Webster (our 2nd Webster of the trip) down at the dock in front of our lodge. He was a very soft-spoken young man who explained that the village he was about to tour with us was his own. We boarded a small fishing boat with one other couple and the captain, and set off down the Zambezi River toward his village...his home.
As the boat approached land, one lone little boy came running down to greet us. Big curious eyes and a warm smile, he stood and watched as we disembarked.
We were told we could take photos of anything we saw. However, if the person appeared older than 18, we were to ask their permission first. Respect the elders.
Webster explained that huts can be made in various ways. This one was made with mud and sticks and was not a structure that would last more than a few years. You can see how it is already cracking and getting holes. The owner has already begun building new shelter to move into.
The blue machine here is a grain mill. It was recently given to the village by a missionary. Before that, they had to grind all their grain by hand, which takes quite a long time.
These men rode their bikes over to grind some grain. It was a very loud machine!
This was the nicest home in the village and, of course, belonged to the Chief, whom we would later meet. Check out the intricate carving in the door.
Our little greeter ran into a friend and they followed one of the boys on his bike with a bag of grain.
Women working out in the fields; it was quite a hot day.
The kids love to have their photos taken and then look at the picture. They don't have mirrors so they rarely get to see what they look like. Here, Eric is showing them what they look like live on the Go-Pro. I am actually sending copies of these photos to the village for them to have.
Here you can see how they use branches to build a sort of fence structure to keep animals out of their crops. Webster told us, however, that this doesn't stop the elephants. So, when the elephants walk through their village, they come out and bang pots and pans and try to reroute them.
I love taking photos of laundry hanging out to dry. Is that weird?!
Another mud and stick structure nearing the end of its life.
Someone's home. Cloth door, dirt floors, tin roof. We are blessed.
This little stinker wanted to exchange karate chops with me!
This area was their bar. They had music playing and they brew their own beer. I did not try it.
A shared outhouse structure.
Sweet little girl who loved seeing herself when I showed her this picture on my camera screen.
This little child was so cute and timid; wearing a headband that was too big and carrying a stuffed bunny.
And here we have the Chief of the village. I asked him if I might take his photo and he posed like this as if he were buttoning his cuffs, though there were no buttons. He did not speak English so Webster translated for him. He welcomed us to his village and said to make ourselves feel at home and take as many photos as we liked.
The Chief's primary role is to keep peace in the village.
This brightly dressed woman walked past with her baby boy on her back and I stopped to talk to her. She permitted me to take some photos.
This is her baby boy; sadly, I've forgotten his name. But he was very cute and curious and had cute little shoes on his tiny little feet.
The children of this home came out to see us but held back a little, shy.
All of the women carried items even larger than this on their heads and walked at a fast pace. I fall off porch steps and sprain my ankle. :0/
This is an old rusted out car bumper that the Chief uses as a bell when he needs the attention of everyone within the village.
Women doing some washing up in buckets.
This village raises pigeons as a food source.
This little boy began following us along our village tour. Eric gave him a Cliff bar and he was so excited!
This was a small kitchen area to be shared. It's kept outside of the home due to the heat that it puts out when they have a fire going.
More structures and homes.
This is their beautiful garden! They have a sturdy fence around it and placed it near the water's edge.
Mom bathing and dressing her kiddos.
Here the Chief is overseeing some of the village men as they build a fence. The man in the bottom left of the photo carrying a small cooler is our guide, Webster.
Fence around the garden.
Webster leading us into their garden.
This mom was washing dishes in the Zambezi River with her baby strapped tightly to her body. Notice the large tree branches that form a border around her working area - this is to keep the crocodiles away. They have a lot of problems with crocodiles and many villagers have been bitten and even killed. A lot of them are now too afraid to go into the Zambezi at all.
Mom came up to say hello and to accept a granola bar from Eric. She broke off little pieces and fed it to her baby girl.
Then she turned and looked out over the great river.
More of the beautiful garden.
My favorite photo. This boy never spoke a word. Just stood and watched us as we admired the garden. He saw me taking his photo and he stood still for it but did not smile.
This little boy was herding cattle right through the center of the village.
And then the kids heard about the goodies we were handing out! They came up with hands tentatively held out asking for bubble gum. Eric did not disappoint.
Look at all the smiling faces!
A cat chasing a lizard up a hut!
A boy and his dog.
This woman passed us as we were walking to our boat to leave. She had a heavy load but a big smile on her face.
We, too, had big smiles on our faces. It was a heartwarming and educational experience. One I will never forget and also one I hope to repeat many times over.
Special thanks to the Waterberry Lodge and to Webster Maninga.
"For it is in giving that we receive." ~ Francis of Assisi
"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." ~ Lao Tzu