Nzulezu Stilt Village, Western Region, Ghana
Nzuelzu is a small village, started over 500 years ago and situated in the middle of Lake Amansuri. It is supported entirely by stilts made of central wood with a raffia walkway. To get to and from Nzulezu you must travel via canoe from a small dock in the village of Beyin, one hour away. The population of Nzulezu is roughly 500 men, women and children, governed by a village chief and a handful of village elders. Although the town is very small, with only one “main street,” there are two churches (Pentecostal and Catholic) that stand side by side. There is one school, grades K-6 and if the children plan to go further in their education they must enroll at the public school in Beyin and commute via canoe everyday. The “school yard” consists of four logs, two per side on the “field”, making up football goals as they stick out of the shallow areas of the lake. Although they live on water, their main source of income is agriculture. They own some land 1 km north of the lake where they grow a variety of vegetables and fruit which they sell in Beyin and the surrounding areas. There is also little exposure to the outside world with no television and poor radio reception. Also, they generally do not like the tourists who visit their village. My colleague Tre and I ventured to Nzulezu together and spent quality time with the elders, who ultimately granted us access into the community and we took some photographs, promising to send them copies, of course. Our tour guide was shocked by their openness and kindness towards us, which is apparently a very rare occurrence. The photos below are from Beyin, where we stayed the night, and Nzulezu images follow.