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View of the Lake


View of the Lake, originally uploaded by Robin Manuell.

When the day begins to cool we head off along the lake shore to visit Madonnia’s shamba. An area planted with rice, sweet potatoes, sugar cane and sisal fades into a totally flat flood plain that stretches on as far as the eye can see: to the river that runs along the foothills on one side and down to the lake shore on the other. The whole area floods during the rainy season and it would be a perfect place for growing rice. But the soil here has never been ploughed and all that grows is a kind of nettle or thistle with occasional patches of grass. Investment is what is needed to make this place productive. A road and a tractor. Men to work the land. But where will the capital come from? This of course is the carrot, the reason I am so welcomed at the house of Madonnia. Maybe I will be the person to find the money.

On the way back from the shamba I talk to Shegera and own up to my sulk. Shegera explains that there has been a misunderstanding that they thought that perhaps I did not want to go down to the lake because of what Madonnia has said about the crocodiles. Cos is afraid of the crocodiles and he doesn’t know how to swim. I tell Shegera I can swim. Why should I be afraid when these small boys are not afraid? He agrees with me. Cos is tired and reluctant but we head back to the lake shore to finally try our hand at some fishing. On the way we pass a fisherman returning from the lake and I buy a couple of big fish to send back to the house for the evening meal.

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