Thursday, 15 September 2011

A life on stilts

This is the last holiday posting, but one of my favourites. We ventured beyond Axim close to the border with Cote D'Ivoire. In fact we passed a refugee camp on our way to Beyin. From there we were punted and paddled through swampland & across Lake Amansuri in a canoe for about 45 minutes towards Nzulezo, a village on stilts. This journey was idyllic and very peaceful over peaty, still water.

There are about 500 people living here. They get quite a few visitors and the children love it. The adults, however, were rather wary and unhappy being photographed. The children were desperate to have their photos taken.
The tiniest children staggered around on these boardwalks and it is almost unheard of for any to fall into the lake. Indeed, the little one in the picture below gave us a wonderful demonstration of how to manage getting across the gap made by a missing board. She sat down, putting her bag beside her, straddled the gap and reached for her belongings. She then stood up and toddled away. It is all they know and not at all threatening. This group were fishing out a pet baby crocodile to show us.
There are most conveniences here including a church and schoolrooms. We were given an audience with the chief's brother......don't get excited he was in a t shirt and shorts and only wanted donations towards the new school library! I'm still trying to imagine how they will keep books in such a humid environment. I was assured they were being donated through the University and the library, currently a few poles lashed together, would be completed in 3 weeks ready for the new term. Mmmm, I may return there before long and see how it is progressing.

It was fascinating to see how these people lived in such a small, isolated community on very fragile foundations. Many rarely leave the village. However, understandably, most of the young people won't stay there once they have seen what is available to them further afield.
Following our return "cruise" across the lake and a very rough road trip back to Axim, we stayed a night at the Axim Beach Resort. This was the most luxurious hotel we stayed in at £14 for the room B&B. Our meal cost rather more as I ate the most gorgeous prawns I can remember ever, with white wine,an enormous treat. We had a quick "swim" before dinner. I waded into the water through the waves, was immediately tossed upside down by one and swallowed half the Gulf of Guinea! I suppose you could call that a swim!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Debbie, just wanted to say Happy Birthday hope you have a good day, am loving the blog, fascinating hearing and seeing the photos. Take care Love Carole X