This past September, I had the chance to visit Kenya and Tanzania on a wonderful vacation. One of the places we visited was a small fishing village on the shores of Lake Victoria in Speke Bay. It certainly opened my eyes to how people live in many other places in the world. We took handmade canoes from our lodge over to the village. The canoes were made of wood and the cracks were stuffed with pieces of rolled fabric, yes fabric. Needless to say, there was a bit of bailing going on during the trip.
Pulling up to the village it seemed some people, especially the local kids were eagerly waiting our arrival. We disembarked our canoes and were led through town by our tour guide, John, who was amazing and wonderfully patient answering all of our questions. The village has about 1,000 people living there who democratically elected a mayor. The mayor's term lasts for 5 years and if after that time, the villagers believe the mayor is doing a good job, he will stay on for another 5 years, if not, they will hold another election. The mayor appoints 12 men and women to serve on council during that time.
The majority of the people that live in the village make a living through fishing. The fishermen go out every night and come back with their catch in the morning to sell at the market. There is no electricity in the village, no hospital (although there is a local medicine man), and a school that was opened by a young villager in 2009 (I'll write more about the school in another post). Currently, only about 50% of the children in the village go to school.
The village does have many other businesses in addition to fishing. I have included pictures of the general store, the bike rental shop and the bakery. We also saw women selling charcoal and men making bricks with either soil or cement. The villagers would buy the bricks to build their homes. The cement bricks were much more expensive than the soil bricks, meaning almost all the homes were made of soil.
I would be more than happy to share more pictures or stories with you or your students about my trip. I certainly learned the importance of water and soil conservation as well as farming practices used throughout the world.
Gwen with the village in the background.
handmade boats we took to the village. that's me in the blue shirt!
the bike rental shop.
main street in the village.
general store with sugar cane for sale out front.
approaching the village.
repairing nets for the fishing trip that night.