About twenty minutes later we heard a large drum being beaten and gradually about twenty people drifted in to view from various directions. There was some humble greetings before they sat patiently in the shade waiting for something to happen. Eventually the representative from the local fisherfolk association, exercise book and Bic pen in hand, arrived and we were able to get underway with the meeting.
In the shade were the men; a small group of women, one or two with babies wrapped against them, sat at the back in the full sunlight listening in. The meeting was slow as in this case, none of the people had sufficient English to talk freely so Alphart had to meticulously translate each phrase in each direction. More people drifted in as we went along so by the end the shelter was overflowing with people. When the meeting broke up several of the attendees insisted on having their photos taken and to be shown the results. We boarded our boat and were waved off by about thirty people; such a contrast to our arrival.
The day was drawing on and the river was a lot busier than when we came down for the meeting. Fishermen were hauling in the day’s catch, we saw several “buses” – larger canoes transporting villagers back from a day in Namwala. Maybe they had been to market, had an appointment at the clinic or some government office; a couple of suitcases and bags suggested some were returning from a much longer trip and this was the last leg before reaching home. One boat even had a few cycles and a motorbike being carried down the stream.