Mfuwe (pronounced “muh” foo we) village has grown because of the many safari lodges in the area. People flock there seeking jobs, but there are more people than there are jobs in the safari industry which shuts down during the rainy season December through March.
Lodges hire as many people as possible, but they can’t support the increasing numbers. Newcomers get desperate for money and often fish illegally with nets or poach to feed their families. They are not the people who get rich from poaching.
The road through Mfuwe begins in Lusaka and ends at the entrance to the South Luangwa National Park about nine hours away by car. Called the Great Road, it is one of the few paved roads in this part of Zambia.
About 5,000 Zambians live near a two-mile strip along the tar road, most of them down long dirt roads that radiate out from the road. The drive through town is a blur of homemade lean-to stalls and painted cement block businesses on either side. Traffic consists mostly of lodges ferrying tourists, locals with their own rugged cars, pedestrians, and people on bicycles.
Some villagers who live in cement block homes with electricity have their own cars and hire out as unofficial taxis. Their cars take a beating, and it’s not unusual to hire one, have mechanical problems and have the driver return to town while he borrows another car before we can get underway.
Written By: Pat Cole