Originally Posted on September 21, 2011
Reposed July 2021
See video below:
We arrived back at the guest house after our Safari at Liuwa Plains NP and I returned the pots we had borrowed to carry our lunch. Njamba, Ngebe & Mamma retrieved their, now three suitcases out of their chalet.
The only place to sit was three logs in the shade along side a new restaurant building being constructed on the grounds. I stood up and went to buy us some bottled water, as we hadn’t had anything to drink all day. We all drank the water and I gave Mamma 300,000.00ZK (about 60USD) when David had gone back to the WV office to pick up something. She put it in her breast. You are not supposed to give them cash. Sorry! You sit there with a kind generous family who can barely afford to send one son to high school let alone 4 children and try not to give them any money. I wish I could have given more.
While I was returning the pots, more to have something to do, to prolong my stay, David interviewed Jami while Mwualuka, Mamma, Ngebe & Njamba sat on the logs. We were all just mingling like we were family, very comfortable with each other. I gave them all a piece of spearmint gum.
After David had interviewed Jami, he called me to stand in front of him. He started asking me about my trip and what was the highlight. I said of course meeting Njamba & his family and of course started to cry. My back was to Njamba and I am not sure how much of it he heard or understood.
Then David said “Lets hear from Njamba, his experience these last two days. Njamba was playing with a small stick and immediately put his elbows over his knees and his head down. I said” It ‘s OK he doesn’t have to speak, he is shy”. Mwualuka then said “He is crying”.
I immediately ran to him and engulfed myself over his bent frame and rocked him like a baby. We both cried. I tried to compose myself and said “I don’t want to go, but I have too”. Mwualuka repeated what I said in Lozi.
You could see the tears dripping to the ground between his knees, from his hidden face. I said that I would try to come back but I didn’t know if I could. All the while he is rocking and saying nothing just wiping his eyes.
I said you can go back home and show all of your friends all the cool stuff you got. You can teach the little ones in your village and by teaching them you will learn how to teach.
It was a very desperate feeling as I knew that his vacation was over and it was back to reality.
I asked him for a hug and he lifted his head to do so and we hugged. I then sat on the ground in front of him and we both tried to hold back our tears, with out much luck.
David then interviewed mamma and Mwualuka and it distracted us a bit.
There was no getting around it but we had to leave. I seemed to compose myself and gave mamma a hug first, then Ngebe and Njamba last and of course started to cry again.
We loaded into the van with the rice and bananas. Luckily Max had a cold box ( cooler), in which he kept the now plucked chicken and the fresh fish he had bought a long the way.
I sat in the very back of the van and waved out the window until I couldn’t see them any more. Blinking as I went, trying to see clearly through the tears as I am doing now trying to type this.
I think I was crying so much for many reasons. We really got to feel comfortable around each other in that short day& a half. Even though he did not speak English a lot, come to think of it he didn’t speak much at all, I think more out of shyness than anything, I know he could read English. When we sat waiting for our dinner the evening before he had read to me out loud the letter I had sent him in 2008’. I brought a copy to see if he remembered it and he did. I told him he read very well and he smiled and did that shy little roll of his head and shoulders.
We drove the short distance to the WV district office in Kalabo to pick up our luggage that had been stored there and for me to write a note in the visitor’s book. I could hardly express my gratitude to WV for all they had done, because I was crying. Especially David & Max for ensuring we had a safe magnificent trip. David is a very talented, observant man who is totally dedicated to God and WV. Max is an amazing driver with strong convictions between right & wrong and also totally dedicated to God & WV.
I could barely speak to the driver who would be taking Njamba, back to his village. He came to the window of the WV van that I was sitting in, waiting to be taken back to Lusaka for our flight home. I told him to take good care of Njamba and his family. David got a message on his phone later that they had arrived safely back at the village.
It turned out that that WV driver was Mr. Fredrick Mulopo, who is now the manager of our main office in Mongu. The Silozi Seed Bank and Trees for Elephants but that is another story that I will tell later.
We drove back to Mongu with the smell of fish enveloping the van. I sat in the seat behind David and Jami behind Max. I had
a 2.5ft x 2.5ft, 6 inch wide box in front of me between the front seat and my seat. It had dried fish in it. I put my
hoodie over the opening in the top of the box to help diminish the smell. My hoodie still smelled a bit like fish when I got home. I did not mind a bit!
We took a 6 hr bus ride to Livingstone to see The Victoria Falls the next morning but that is also a story for another time.
When I arrived home in Canada I was so happy to see my husband Carl. All I wanted to do was sit with my best friend, have a couple of glasses of wine and talk. I really should have had a shower but I was prolonging it. I felt as if I was washing away Africa and wanted to hold on to it for as long as I could.
For all of these years, since childhood I have loved animals and
wanted to go to Africa. This could not have worked out better. I
got to meet Njamba and there is not a better African country I
could have visited to fulfill my dream.
This is THE END, for now as Carl & I are making plans to go back together.
Many thanks to all who have supported me in this venture as I am sure some were worried as I was originally going alone. Thanks to David & Max from World Vision , we were chauffeured, entertained, educated and most of all safe.
I now have a new brother David and an uncle Max whom I will be keeping in touch with and will hopefully see again.
Thanks all those who donated gifts for us to take to an amazing family.
Thanks also to my mother in law, Mardi Noble for all of my safari gear and plug transformers as she too has been to Africa.
Thanks most of all to my Mom & Dad for teaching me respect!
If you are enjoying this journey, stay tuned for the next episode in two weeks time and Thanks for reading and watching. Joanne