by Steven Jacobson, Takaliawa (Matebeleland South), Zimbabwe
Recreation and water don't go hand-in-hand here; it is just too dangerous. There are still waterborne diseases, such as cholera, in the dam, as well as a nasty blood fluke worm that causes a disease called bilharzia, or schistosomiasis. There's also an occasional crocodile looking for lunch on the lakeshore. It is highly discouraged for people to play in any water source larger than a wash basin.
by Robert Joppa, Gumira, Chipinge District, Zimbabwe
During and just after the rainy season, people young and old cool off by swimming in the pans. (A pan is an area of hard soil that can collect water in the rainy season.) This is where many get bilharzia. During the dry season when the pans dry up, the people all go to the Save River for a swim. The river is divided into the male area and female area because swimming and bathing are one and the same and are done naked. The boys enjoy rough-housing and wrestling, while it seems that the women and girls are always too busy for fun. The laundry, water-fetching, and anything other than plowing or harvesting is women's work.
by Christopher Thomas, Masonga/Samhutsa, Zimbabwe
Children take advantage of the many rivers and streams here, especially on hot days. Not far from my house, children swim in a swimming hole in the Nyamtikwa River. When they don't want to get wet, the children sometimes play a game in which something is thrown in the river—usually a long piece of grass—and they chase it as it is swept downstream. When they catch it, they take it upstream and play again. There is also a flat, grassy area by the river where the kids play football or compete in high-jumping contests.