Waha

Name ID 2464

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Journey to the Source of the Nile
Page Number: 154
Extract Date: 1996

Ichthyophagists

Burton said of the people of this region,

"The lakists are an almost amphibious race, excellent divers, strong swimmers and fishermen, and vigorous Ichthyophagists [fish eaters] all."

The boat, a twelve-metre open-shell cargo boat called a mutumbu, was driven by an outboard motor and had a brightly coloured green and yellow hull. Across the bow on the inside were painted the words Mpaji ni mungu, "God gives all." The boat was manned by boatmen of the Waha tribe. In the fishing village of Mtanga, the crew demanded that we buy some kayoga, the traditional drink of the Waha. This is a local brew made from bananas, and it was, we quickly realized, much stronger than the others we had tried along the way. The Waha boatmen soon lost their reserve. They welcomed the kayoga and instantly began having a good time, entering and leaving the harbours with increasing confidence and many taunts, jibes, and jokes.

Our trip up the coast took four hours and went as far as the Burundi border. Because of the refugees, there was a disturbing quality to our explorations. There was an uneasiness to Burton and Speke's experiences at Lake Tanganyika, too. It was there that their unlikely partnership began to founder, dashing forever any hope that they would identify the source of the Nile together.

Extract ID: 5783
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