In my last post, Kuomboka In A Canoe, I mentioned washing our legs and here is what happened!
We finally started paddling through the tall grasses to our first stop which was the village that our manager Fredrick was born in 61 years ago in the middle of the Barotse Flood Plain.
As the water was high, it was like a small self sufficient island in the middle of a grassy lake. There was a couple who lived their and one of their brothers. We brought some sandwiches for lunch and they kindly gave us some delicious sweet potatoe to eat as well.
It was amazing! They had at least 10 chickens, vegetable gardens with sweet potatoe, maize, fruit trees, colourful birds, flowers and the original church, built by Fredricks grandfather many years ago.
We sat under a Mango tree to have our lunch and Fredrick proceeded to tell us some thing about washing his legs. I couldn’t quite get what he was saying so I asked,” so you are telling us you want to go wash your legs?” He, Chloe, Luke & I laughed and then he said. “We have a saying here if you want to excuse yourself to go relieve yourself, you say you are going to wash your legs” All four of us laughed again. I guess it makes sense because if you miss, you will have to wash your legs and I’ll tell you there was a lot of water surrounding us to do so!
Each year in Zambia’s Western Province the Litunga – the King/Paramount Chief of the Malozi people, moves in a symbolic ceremony known as the Kuomboka (“get out of water”).
This ancient ceremony celebrates the move of the Litunga from his ‘summer’ home at Lealui in the flooded villages of the Barotse Floodplain, to his ‘winter’ home in Limulunga on the higher ground ( 10km north of SEEDS), until the flooded plains subside in June/July. The festive event is celebrated each year at the end of the rainy season (around March/April) when the upper Zambezi River floods the plains of Western Province. The Litunga decides the date for the ceremony a few weeks beforehand after considering the level of the floods, the availability of food and the phase of the moon.
We came back wet and exhausted after a 11 hour day. Not as exhausted as the paddler I am sure, but all in all it was a great day! Thank you Fredrick!
When reviewing the pictures with Fredrick, we laughed one of those gut wrenching laughs, as I told him this was my view the whole trip!