…where the colour of the sand changes and moves through sudden swirls that form and transport it; where feeling unwell or having a bad day is not taken into account, is called “webo webo” and with some music you can make it not the best day of your life, but almost.
Where effort does not have to be called work, as it is natural and always done with a big smile; where the present is really the present and the future is dispensable.
Where the sun is a great ball of fire and both visually and literally comes out in the east and hides in the west. Where the moon appears horizontally until it becomes a perfect circle. Where there are so many stars it would be impossible to buy them, count them, give them away…
Where the smiles are so pure that they become indescribable.
Where you never know if you are speaking tonga, nyanja or bemba, since Zambia is a country which has 72 different languages.
Where different greetings have their rules and where receiving a hug really means trust; where shaking hands with friends is natural.
Where the landscapes show you how amazing nature is. Herds of elephants, giraffes blinking, crocodiles resting, monkeys and deer scampering until the lion arrives, then the savannah is paralyzed, the animals measure their steps and the laws of nature become visible.
Where the water of the Victoria Falls touches your skin while you contemplate, almost from a precipice, their immensity.
A place where there is a lack of education and health, and social inequalities exist, but in spite of that it is a place of which we have a lot to learn from.
I remain with the sound of the sewing machine while Mary turned, with the movement of her feet, the “chetengues” into handmade wonders. With how Victor, from a cow bone, managed to carve small “nyami nyamis” with millions of details.
I remain with the barefoot walks through the streets of Mwandi, while the children approached me screaming “mzungu”, crazy happy and eager to hug you although, in reality, the one who went crazy with joy was me.
I take Judith with me, her strength and integrity, her garden, her farm and the feeling of closeness and trust I felt having hardly shared a few words.
I take with me Kasiya’s nurse, who, always wearing a paper boat shaped cap, is able to give preventive and curative medical treatments to the community of Kasiya, recording the medical records on papers for many years, and formalizing the periods in which the diseases are more likely to break out through graphs drawn on a sheet of paper with a pencil and stuck on the wall with a piece of sticky tape.
I remain with the gentleness and availability of Mr Chairman, offering, for example, to travel a long way to town to only buy a bottle of oil.
I take new flavours with me, nshima, shampo, frites…at first difficult to digest and finally having seconds because with the days I ended up thinking of them as a delicacy.
I remain with Joselete, Edgar and Joseph’s attitude, their looks, their smiles and their way to face life, because they have taught me that complaining is not worth it, that it is not within their plans and that problems can always be solved with a good mood.
I remain with Monica’s satisfaction knowing that we enjoyed the dishes she prepared for us.
I remain with Flavia’s and all the girls’ welcome and coexistence.
I remain with Kasiya’s teacher, his eagerness to teach and his invitation to attend a very curious mass.
I take with me Joyce’s pick up, welcome and farewell. She is the director of the NGO KUBUKA Zambia and a relentless woman who transmits something special that passes on.
I take with me the desire to live and learn from both children and adults, who did not want the classes, whose number had to increase, to end. Those cravings for knowledge drive me crazy and make me understand that apart from everything you receive, something is also being contributed.
And, in general, I remain with Livingstone, I look at the women carrying basins on their head, selling their products in the Green Market, which makes you take off one’s hat. I remain with Maramba, with the colours of the “chetengues”, with the trips in the van taking 11 volunteers.
I stay with the great group of volunteers and with KUBUKA’s team, because without their work, passion, effort, dedication and integrity, I could not talk about anything of what has been described previously.
And, of course, I remain with having fulfilled my dream, with how proud I feel and, above all, with everything I take back with me, because “pagono pagono” you can get to wherever you want.