Creeks & Towns of the Niger Delta

…by the pier, the end of the dirt track that links Krakrama with some of the surrounding villages, though none of them are linked by road to any outside, larger towns. (More about that below…)

Above and below, a small fishing camp in the vast riverine network of the Niger Delta.

Below and above are a number of shots from trips into some of the creek or riverine towns I visited. The shots are mostly of Krakrama, a small town just off the roads and accessible only by boat; Abonnema, the largest town in the Kalabari Kingdom area, including a few shots of me and colleagues with the Amayanabo or King of Akuku-Toru/Abonnema; and Buguma, the traditional seat of the Kalabari Kingdom and its Amayanabo (different from the Amayanabo of Abonnema, though both are Kalabari town; Nigeria is a country rich in traditional rulers, chiefs, and kings – rather un-English, one might say…). In one shot you’ll see a large bridge crossing the river; this bridge links Abonnema, on one side of the river, with the road that leads to Buguma and other towns like Port Harcourt, as seen from Krakrama, which will need one or two more bridges built before it’s reachable by road. Even Abonnema and Buguma were only linked by road to the rest of the state when a new bridge went in about a decade ago.

…our wet pants tell you it was a rainy day on the creeks.

This is a fairly typical example of the type of evangelical protestant church that has sprung up, apparently, throughout West Africa. I found the Christianity of my Nigerian colleagues quite interesting — in the US, all the born-again evangelical types would never dance as fantastically as my Nigerian colleagues do; most certainly not to tunes with such lyrics as “I like that booty, I like that booty…” So our parties were sometimes a bit confounding to me: truly excellent dancing to songs whose lyrics were really quite forward; yet I had to remind myself that a very high percentage of those doing the dancing were very strongly Christian. I also noted that a lot of it is about power and success and winning — winners chapel is a typical name.

…me in the riverine equivalent of the corner bodega: in the plastic container is fried dough, yum!

Most of the boats on the river, in numbers, are still wooden dug-out canoes or pirogues (dunno if they really are pirogues or not, but that’s how I think of them…) that are obviously going about their fishing or taking- yams-to- the- market in the timeless way they’d have done long before British colonizers and missionaries starting showing up. But obviously, in this day and age, there are plenty of motorized transports on the creeks as well, hence the floating gas station right by Buguma Town, below.

These guns would have been used by slave-traders around the time that the guy represented in the statue below was Amayanabo (King) of the Kalabari Kingdom, a vast section of the Niger Delta in what is now southwestern Rivers State.

Above and below, two of PH from the water: a very different aspect of PH than the usual daily view en route house-hospital-house-hospital. An expat colleague, once, even asked how we came to have a patient with a motorboat-propeller injury – that’s how distant the reality of the Niger Delta was from our daily routines sometimes. 🙂

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