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‘A cow is like a bank…’

The road to Ngande is a pot-holed, red-dirt track which makes for a bumpy ride. Miriam and Cuthbert tell me about the people who live in this area: 75% earn their living from fishing on nearby Lake Kariba. I am asked if I have tried the tiny dried salt fish (‘kapenta’?) that is the main catch of this area and essential protein for children if they can get to eat it. I have seen bags of it in the warehouse and promise to give it a try. We talk about the cattle who wander past and Cuthbert says a cow ‘is like a bank’ – ‘money on legs’!

The local people speak Tonga. Miriam and Cuthbert try to teach me a couple of words. We pass by thatched, red-mud huts in mud compounds and small, raised wooden platforms in the middle of plots of corn. These, they tell me, are for children to climb up onto and guard the corn against the animals that might come to eat it. Many children have to do this, as well as other work, rather than attend the local school.

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