People in the World, Part 1 of 2

As we wrap up 2022, I end this year’s posts with a two-part series featuring fellow humans I have glimpsed throughout my travels.

All of the destinations in our travels are with one thing in mind: to visit wilderness habitats where we can spot wild mammals and birds. We go to out-of-the-way places observing wildlife.

Humans are not the focus, but of course we find humans along the way. They lead the way. I love humans too; they are, after all, my species.

Although my partner and I like many different places on this planet, Africa is our favorite. We have visited five countries.

While every one of the 54 countries in Africa are different, we found similarities in the people.

One similarity: there are many villages in Africa. The three photos below reflect villages in Botswana, Kenya, and Zambia.

Of course Africa has many large cities and towns as well. We gravitate towards wilderness, so villages and small towns were where we spent the most time.

Livingstone, below, is a city of 134,000 people located on the southern Zambia border. It is near Victoria Falls, a popular tourist destination and therefore a bigger establishment.

Another similarity among the African countries, like every country in the world, is that locals congregate around the markets where they buy and sell wares.

There are market photos throughout this post.

Also evident in much of Africa: many folks walk. They walk everywhere. This family, below, just bought groceries in Livingstone and are carrying them home.

Below is a border crossing at Zambia/Botswana in southern Africa. We went through Customs here four times, and there was always a lot going on–a lively, animated place.

Until last year, crossing the Zambezi River, another border, was tricky because relations between Zambia and Botswana had been strained for so long that they never built a bridge to cross the river.

These villagers in the photo below are waiting their turn for the ferry, to cross the Zambezi to shop and sell; some people work on the other side of the river every day. The ferry was very crowded. I stood on the deck eye-to-eye with a man’s string mop.

Fortunately, the Kazungula Bridge was completed last year, providing another option now than just the ferry.

Transportation in African countries also had similarities. Vehicles are not owned by every adult, so in addition to pedestrians there are many bicycles and shared vehicles.

In the cities at morning rush hour, we often saw vans so full of people that their bodies were bursting out of it–some commuters holding on with one leg on the floorboard and one leg dangling in the wind.

This pick-up truck, below, could not have been any more loaded. Those big colored barrels on top are for carrying water.

This woman has a heavy load too, including her little one.

For locals who have the fortune to live near water, dugout canoes were a frequent scene despite hippo-studded waters. Fishermen make their living in canoes, and canoes are used for transportation as well.

All the bumps in the river below are hippos, except for the canoe with two men (at the bottom).

I hope you enjoyed these passing glimpses of African locals in their towns and villages. Next week we’ll cruise over to the Western Hemisphere.

Written by Jet Eliot.

Photos by Athena Alexander.

54 thoughts on “People in the World, Part 1 of 2

  1. While the flora and fauna differ considerably between East and West Africa, the daily life of the people is remarkably similar. I could list a dozen similarities or more just from your photos — markets, village life, the stuffed-to-the-gills ‘mammy lorries’ — and so on. Even Monrovia and Livingstone show some similarities. I really enjoyed this; it made me a little homesick for my own years in Liberia.

  2. Most enjoyable post, Jet. People watching is an interesting past time no matter where one is. Loved seeing these villages and folks that live there. Looking forward to the next installment!

  3. Africa is thrilling to experience and I’m glad you shared your encounters with its people, Jet. Aside from seeing the wildlife, the cultural aspects of the villages and cities are fascinating. I smiled at your string mop encounter. πŸ™‚

    • Loved hearing from you, Jane, as always. I forgot all about the string mop scene until I was writing this post–funny what we see and experience on our travels. My warmest thanks, Jane.

  4. I’m so fascinated by Africa and really want to visit, not only for the wilderness, but to experience a way of life that’s so different from my own. Thank you for this tour!

    • How wonderful that I could share a piece of Africa with you here today, Diana, and give you a small look at some of the beauty that is Africa. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your lovely comment.

  5. So much to enjoy here! Laughed at your mop encounter on the ferry, pored over the wonderful photographs – a tremendous collection, along with your words, to fuel the imagination – and a tip of the hat to the very stylish little dude standing by the gate, made me smile.
    Humans are ok!
    Thanks, Jet, can’t wait for part two!

    • I so enjoyed your comment, pc. I’m happy you came along for African people-watching and stories. I have a smile on my face right now, thanks for putting it there. Cheers, my friend.

  6. I enjoy seeing lives so different from my own privileged one – and seeing the clever ways people make the most of what they have! Thank you for sharing!

  7. You always create an interest of the reader when you narrate your experiences. You make people imagine if they were in the town that you mention,. Readers are fascinated with your adventures. I do feel like that too. Thank you, my friend. I feel like I was there with you. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much, H.J., for your warm and thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it. And I’m very glad you joined me on the African people-watching adventure this week. We’ll be adventuring into South America next week, a place with which you are very familiar. Hope to see you then, but in the meantime, have a good week. First holiday in your new home, I hope you and your family are enjoying new traditions and sweet times. Sending my very best to you, dear friend.

  8. This is a great edition! I love seeing the daily lives of the people in the countries you’ve traveled to. Wildlife is the draw, sure, but the culture can be such an eye-opener.

    • Yes, you nailed it exactly, Eilene. I am delighted you enjoyed the people-watching in Africa and you’re right, culture can be a real eye-opener. My warm thanks for your lovely comment and visit.

    • I am thrilled you found the African people-watching post interesting, Craig. And I love that general store photo too. The world is an endlessly interesting place, it’s a joy to share it with you. Many thanks, my friend.

  9. I never realized or thought about the population size of the African cities. So sad that politics controls access but at least the animals can move somewhat freely. Hard to believe they’re just now completing the bridge.

  10. My gosh Jet entirely amazing! The photos and the story bring us right their!
    This trip must have been exciting and easy to remember for what it taught
    in itself. Africa has always been one of those places I have wanted to go.
    Thank you for sharing your story. Looking forward to more!

  11. Love this, Jet. I’ve never been to Africa, so I enjoyed you. r visit. The people walking from the market reminded me of the village at the bottom of the Havasu Canyon in the Grand Canyon. There are no cars there. You have to hike ten miles to get to the village and it has one store for provisions. The residents would take their children to the store and everyone would have something to carry home. Then after another two miles we reached the campground. I love that place and have been three times. I love that place, with its waterfalls and cascades and wonderful echos during a rainstorm. You so inspire me, Jet.

    I am looking forward to Part II !

    • Thanks so much for your descriptive words about the Havasu Canyon villagers. Interesting how they take every person in the family and all carry something home, and very reminiscent of village life and being creative with resources and getting their needs met. I’m happy you’re looking forward to Part II. I’ve been working on it this week and narrowed it down to Peru, Mexico and Belize. Thank you for your kind words, too, LuAnne, much appreciated.

  12. I did have to travel some for work, but as a collective, I have not had the opportunity to really experience such places – the ying/yang of having a professional IT career. I dealt with our manufacturing plants and offices in just about every corner of the world, but unless there was a physical connection issue I could resolve it via voice/video/network. As a result I do have friends/colleagues in practically every continent (missing only Antarctica I think), but I have limited “knowledge” in their cultures outside of that work environment or gatherings usually at a neutral location. So incredible interesting when I can read these types of posts that give me a much better perspective of other lands and daily life. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Thank you, Brian. I really enjoyed your response, hearing about your job and connecting with people all over the world. And I’m glad you enjoyed Part 1 of the People in the World post. I published Part 2 today, also a fun one. Sending warm holiday wishes your way, Brian, and again, thank you.

    • I’m glad I got your thoughts going, Belinda, on navigating hippos. And I’m delighted you enjoyed the people of Africa. Thanks so much for your feedback and visit today, much enjoyed.

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