Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Village life

I've never really posted you pictures to show what life is like in the villages. So here is a picture essay made up of photos from Cathie and Soraya. All these shots are from the southern province, but could come from almost anywhere in Rwanda.

Double click each picture to open it.

One of the biggest problems for villagers is access. This is a typical path to a village. Imagine having to follow these tracks in the rainy season, with a bowl of produce on your head, for four or five miles to get to the market.

Invariably bridges over streams are logs, loosely held together. Desperately slippery in the rain, and with no guard rail. Quite lethal after dark. These pictures help you understand why almost nobody travels after dark if they can avoid it. The African darkness is so total it gets intimidating.

Twenty litre jerrycans of water are incredibly heavy, especially when you are going uphill.

woman off to the fields with hoe and sack. One of the most common sights in all Rwanda

This is a typical village street scene.

Because there is such an acute shortage of farmland in the southern province, cattle have by law to be kept inside, and fodder is cut and brought to them. This sort of slatted enclosure is very common. Almost always there is a roof of thatch to keep the worst of the sun off the animals; this tiled roof is definitely a cut above average.

Three glimpses of side streets in villages.

Bringing home fodder for the family cow. This is usually done by children, often before they are allowed to leave home for school.

In the villages your shopping choice is somewhat limited.

Every means is used for drying beans or sorghum or cassava, often including the road outside your house.

Wash day. Nobody uses washing lines; clothes are draped over fences and hedges.

This is the centre of Gasarenda village, seen from Han and Mans' house

Typical village houses.

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