Life is pretty tough for most people in this part of Angola.
Although some people live along the road, most live some distance from it. Homes may be single storey buildings built from hand made clay bricks, but most people live in compounds of stick built huts with straw roofs, surrounded by a stick wall to keep cattle in and unwelcome animals out. Those living in brick buildings close to the road may have an intermittent supply of electricity but no-one has running water. Driving around Namacunde in June 2010 it was possible to see water pipes being laid in the ground although it is unclear when piped water will actually arrive. Those living in stick built houses have neither electricity nor running water.
There is little in the way of regular employment, with most people getting by through subsistence farming. Almost all families keep cattle, goats and chickens and they may grow simple crops close to their homes. Animals are sold for cash, when necessary. The Angolans love trading and sell all sorts of things, new and old, in the market. Almost anything is offered for sale – very little is regarded as junk. Many women look after children on their own because, for men, one of the few chances of paid work involves leaving home for northern Angola to work in the copper or diamond mines or in the oil fields, returning home for perhaps just one month a year.
Despite life being tough, people here generally are resourceful, happy and welcoming.