Esther sells roasted corn near UNZA in Lusaka, Zambia
I spent all of March 2016 preparing for, traveling to, traveling around, returning from and recovering from my first trip to Zambia, where I was the guest of honor of GWRAZ, aka the Greater Lakes Women Refugee Association in Zambia. I was welcomed at the airport by these warrior queen angels, and when I left, they were with me to the last minute, waving and giving blessings.
I really tested these women when I broke bones in foot, ankle and leg on Mar 18, 12 days into my visit to Zambia, 3 days before I was scheduled to fly to South Africa on my way back to New Jersey.
I was staying at the Zebra Guesthouse, arguably the best guesthouse I have ever visited (price, location, professionalism, cleanliness, facilities, Zambian owned and operated) when I decided to walk down the road to buy roasted corn from my new friend Esther, who operated a road-side stall. Half-way there, I slipped on red mud in a concrete drain, lay there groaning until 20 rescuers pulled me out of the ditch.
One by one my rescuers peeled off as I called GWRAZ friends for help.
Three remained: Charity, who quietly left when my GWRAZ friends showed up, she had fetched a bowl of water for my feet to be washed by the other two: Farai, an aspiring journalist and Natasha, whose good grades at a state-run school, led to her being awarded by the Zambian Government a full scholarship to study medicine in England, later rescinded “we ran out of money”, but we are working on her spectacular future on Facebook. Natasha turned out to be the grand-daughter of the traditional ruler I had been taken to meet the previous week, who is supportive of the GWRAZ goal to build a farm and community on land she administers.
My GWRAZ friends took me by car to what they said was the best hospital in Lusaka. It did not disappoint. Within 4 hours I was cleaned, x-rayed, ice-packed and my leg set in a cast with a long splint, told to get surgery as soon as possible, and returned to the Zebra Guest House. During this time I was visited by 10 members of GWRAZ, given water and fruit, and generally fussed over. Not a word of criticism about my stupidity in falling in mud. Not even a breath. And they came back the next day, Saturday. And Sunday. And even more showed up on Monday to escort me to the airport, and stayed, waving, until the very last moment when I was wheelchaired onto my South African Airways flight.
By the way, South African airways is spectacular. If you break your leg anyway, fly home with them. They went out of their way to be pleasant and helpful.
Natasha and Farai showed up Saturday, the day after I broke my bones, and Farai peformed 2 raps, which I recorded. I asked them if they could put together a peace rap. They reappeared on Sunday afternoon, explaining they had been up all night writing and performing their peace rap. I recorded 7 versions, they were not happy with any of them. I will post the best one, or two. These young ladies are awesome.
Natasha, Farai and Charity wash feet of Dr Susanna J Dodgson near UNZA
Veronica arrives with fruit and water and friends at the hospital
Leg in plastered and splinted by Russian orthopedic surgeon in Lusaka
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