Sunday, December 11, 2005
Butare province, Rwanda. Photo taken in early December. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll get a better view of the typical pattern of housing in this area of Rwanda, i.e. individual houses on patches of land. In this hilly country, land is at a premium - this is the most densely populated country in Africa. Traditionally people feel most comfortable living on the patch of land that they farm. This is unlike many other countries where living in villages is more common. Noticable in this photograph is how dry it is, given that we are well into the rainy season. Rain has been sparse and sporadic since the season began in September, and in many places the beans (the staple food) are drying up and people expect to go hungry. Fortunately, the situation here is still far better than in other areas of southern Africa (notably Malawi and Zimbabwe) where there is now famine. For detailed information regarding the food situation in Africa, take a look at www.fews.net (famine early warning system), where there are details of rainfall and harvests. On the narrow valley floor in this photo are the rice fields. Valley floors are valuable land in the land of hills, and often stay wet and productive all year round (hence are known as 'marais' locally). Rice is not a traditional food here, but the government is encouraging production. The employment offered by the rice fields tempts some children to leave primary school.
Posted by Nicky Reiss at 6:44 pm