Hosting a community of about 2,000 people, Mbabala island lies deep inside Bangweulu, Zambia”s largest lake [Osman Mohamed Osman/Al Jazeera]

Mbabala, Zambia – Deep inside Bangweulu, the largest lake in Zambia, lies Mbabala, a sandy island home to about 2,000 people. 

From a distance, a dozen fishermen move around the water, slowly rowing their old, wooden boats in search of fish. 

At the island’s shores, children wash utensils and clothes as others prepare to bathe.

It is a sunny Saturday morning and Irene Bwalya emerges from her tall maize plantations engulfing her modest one-bedroom house. She is breastfeeding her new son.

“Go inside and get me the brown mat,” the mother of seven angrily tells one of her daughters, who is sitting outside.

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