Originally posted September 19, 2011
Revised and re Posted May 2021
From what I remember, Njamba left to put the mattress in their hut and then I remembered the gum balls I had carried all those miles from Toronto Canada to Kalabo, Zambia, Africa.
Luckily I wore my layered dress so I had the ADP manager (can you tell I can’t remember his name) dump some of the gum balls into a fold in my dress. He then told everyone to get in a single line. Once they were in single file he told me to come to the opposite end of the line. I was aghast as there was a little boy who had stood in front of me very patiently and politely and now he was going to be at the end of the line. I grabbed his arm as the manager was pulling mine and said, come with me. He was the first one to get a gum ball!
I was standing in the hot sun for at least ½ hour going down the line while they took one gum ball at a time, out of my dress .The line seemed to keep on going. We were on the last batch of gum balls and I had a crowd now in front of me. The word had spread and adults and children a like were coming from the surrounding villages. I probably had about 20 people left in front of me and I was running out of gum balls.
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this but I remember in my minds eye. I saw many little hands sticking up through bigger hands but I could ‘t see who they were attached too. I bent down to try to give to the little ones.
I bent down and saw a little face and had to force my hand in the pile to find his. I managed to get one to him. It was so hot as we were standing in full sun so the gum balls were starting to melt in my hand.
I kept saying only one as I wasn’t quite sure who I was giving them too and I could see some of them chewing so I pointed with my chin and said to one child, “chew” and when they chewed I knew they already had one. I would then move on the next person and say “chew”. It turned out in the end that they were all standing in front of me with their hands out chanting “Chew”, “Chew”, “Chew”. I guess they misunderstood.
By the way luckily the ADP Manager gave Njamba 4 gums balls, so at least he got some. I had totally forgotten about him.
The gum balls I handed out were the first thing I had bought to take to the children of Zambia. It is a known fact in my family that you will get “practical” gifts from me, what ever the occasion. All of the other gifts I brought with me to Zambia, were practical, but these gum balls were almost like a little “cheat treat”. I don’t know if you have noticed but most children in Africa have beautiful teeth due to the fact that they do not have access to much sugar. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to expose them to “gum balls”, but it is done now and I am still glad I did it.
Re reading these old posts written 10 years ago make me smile, I hope they do the same for you!
In two more weeks time, we are off on an adventure to be remembered for sure! You will all wish you could have been there. Stay tuned!