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Lakes embody unique qualities of water that are distinct from streams, rivers, waterfalls, seas, and oceans. Like streams and rivers, lakes are a source of precious freshwater and fish, both essential for sustaining life. However, unlike rivers, lakes are completely bordered by land that, combined with their ability to nurture and sustain life, liken them to the life-sustaining fluids of the womb. Therefore, many lakes are considered “mothers,” have feminine attributes, or are connected with origins.

The Luo name for Africa's most famous lake, Nalubaale (Victoria), the second largest freshwater lake in the world, translates as “Mother of Gods.” Lubaale means deity, and the prefix na denotes the feminine. A further connection between lakes and motherhood exists in the region where Nalubaale is located, which is ...

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