There is good grazing when the rains do come but the people who live on the mounds dotted around the plain seem reluctant to rely too much on the crops they plant. Perhaps it is because they can never be sure just when the river will reclaim 'their' land and 'their' villages, that they do not want to be tied too much to any one place.
Some years poor rains mean that many people do not have to move from their island homes as the waters rise, because it stops short of inundating them, but at other times the traditional pattern, based on the Kuomboka (coming out of water) ceremony, returns, as chief and people move with great pageantry to palace and settlements beyond the river's reach. At least the cattle, so important to their way of life, are able to escape to higher ground but the maize crop may be submerged before it can be harvested. Villages are swept away and lives lost because of an unexpected sudden rise in the water level.