After the focus on large mammals it was a nice change of pace to look at things from the ground point of view. Our morning started with a ride in a Mokoro (a traditional canoe) through some of the channels of the Delta. Experiencing the Delta water ways at ground level was amazing. We learned about the Delta and the useful plants in it. The main one we utilized was the papyrus. In addition to paper and fabric making the base is an excellent source of water and food. It tasted like a cross between lettuce and a radish. Our polers picked one whenever they got thirsty. We had a few as well.
A member of a local tribe took us on a enthnobotany walk in the area following the Mokoro ride. He found us plants to make alcohol with, use as insecticides, brush your teeth with and get water from. Even found us a plant we could use as a hat. Mother Nature’s convenience store.
Following the walk he took us to his own village – the Xhau tribe – where we got a tour. Until a few months ago the women of the village had a long walk each day to get water from the river. The government has just put in piped water to a large central tank in the village. It has made a huge change in their lives. The village is not electrified. Villagers raise goats to sell to raise money for solar panels to charge their cell phones and run radios. Africa is a land of contrast…..