Tues May 21-22, 2002 Long Drive to Lusaka the capitol of Zambia
Up at 5 am again and on the truck by 6:30. Take the whole day just to drive to Lusaka-about 12 hours or 800 km on the “bloody truck” as Janine put it in her diary.
Stopped off in a village in the early afternoon; watched two women under a tree lather up a naked little boy-child about 3 years old with soap and water from a plastic bucket but we are too respectful to take a picture. Whenever the truck stops raggedy kids materialize instantly…seemingly out of nowhere. Waiting for…hoping for a handout. I throw out two little bags of chips…The two biggest ones got them, I tell Rod! He answers with a cynical grin…African Democracy!
Then a black African adult about the age of 40 walked past the truck and yells at us bitterly, “What are you doing here! You are from free countries! You look like prisoners sitting up there! And don’t give the kids anything! You just teach them to be beggars!” I don’t blame him one bit for his bitterness…I want to know about his bitterness…otherwise how am I to know how to act-particularly in regard to my government’s foreign policies.
We see signs for Zambian beer called Mosi…I see a sign “Anti Corruption Commission!” Rod says “yes and there is an anti corruption commission on the anti corruption commission! Another sign…Knowledge is Power Bar and Restaurant…I can go with that!
African Presidential Excess
On the way into Lusaka all the traffic was stopped by uniformed policewomen and then we finally saw the reason for it; the president in an entourage of about a dozen vehicles…including an ambulance! Someone suggested he was probably on his way to the airport. Later in the South African Cape Times we read “Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa was clearly hoping to impress First World lenders when he ordered his ministers and officials to board a 69 seater bus bound for the airport. He was en route to South Africa to attend the World Economic Forum summit. Apparently the presidential motorcade to see the President off at the airport has become rather a drain on resources so in the interests of cost-saving, the Zambian leader has said it will become standard practice for ministers and party officials to bus it to the airport whenever they want to wave him goodbye.”
This is nothing compared to Zimbabwe’s president however. The U.S. is threatening to recall three commercial airliners sold to the country two years ago for nonpayment. It has been reported that Robert Mugabe will commandeer a plane at a moment�s notice so that his wife can go on shopping sprees in Paris-even having the seats removed so there would be space for all the packages. In the future, with international pressure, I hope this phase of Africa’s development is going to go the way of Uganda’s Idi Amin which is OUT!
On the way into town saw a huge billboard that said “Do not allow people to become perpetually dependent! Do not give alms to beggars!” I think to myself this town is fighting a losing battle. Another signs read “Polite Notice-No Bus Stops.”
I keep losing track of the date…Bob has to remind me to take our Larium for prevention of Malaria on Sundays.
Every time the truck stops Damian from Australia gets out and runs up like a little kid to ask James “Are we there yet” Damian and Melissa sit behind me and I get to talk to them a lot. I like them. Once Damian made a cynical remark and Melissa apologetically said “Isn’t he terrible?” I said, oh no, that is just black humor! It helps us get through life!
Tags: African Continent, Camp, Lusaka, Touching Experiences, Truck, World Watching And Politics, Zambia