A Talk During A Rainstorm In Livingstone, South Western Zambia

By Paolo von Schirach

March 8, 2013

LIVINGSTONE, South Western Zambia – Yes, this is the place named after the famous explorer and religious man  David Livingstone, the first European who ever saw the mighty falls on the Zambezi river, thereafter renamed Victoria Falls, this way honoring the British Sovereign. Today we had an incredibly powerful rain storm. Thunder and torrents of water, for over three hours. The hotel where I’m staying is a modern version of an old African lodge; built by a South African group. Two rows of rooms, each one with its own veranda. Anyway, I wanted to have a better look at the storm enveloping us, and so I went to the restaurant which has two levels. On the second floor it is all glass and one can have an unhindered view of the African landscape. In fact, one can also see from a distance the spray rising up from Victoria Falls.  

As I got up, there was just one man sitting at one of the tables, reading something. Two cell phones on the table. Nobody else up there. I said “Hello” and he reciprocated. And a conversation started.

“My name is Mulemwa. Where are you from?”

“America. And you?”

“I’m from here, from Livingstone. I’m studying to get an additional certification from Nkrumah University as a Math and Science high school teacher.”

“Well, its a good thing that you teach Math. Kids really need to get  a good education.”

“Yes, too much poverty here.”

“True. But education is the only real way out of poverty. Without it your students will end up selling a few goods in the streets for very little money. I have seen many of them.”

“I know. So, how is America? Is it true that there is opportunity and things run smoothly over there?”

“Well, up to a point. We seem to have lost our way. Still, yes, there is opportunity. But much of it is really tied to having a good education, knowledge and skills. And this is why I believe the work you do as a teacher is really important. By the way, why are you here? Do you also work at the Hotel?”

“Not really. I live nearby, and I like to come here to study. I love it up here. And outside of meal times the place is empty. I come up here, sit and enjoy the quiet and the view, while I study.”

“But today it is different. With all this rain.”

“Yes, it is. Sometimes, at the peak of the rainy season it can last for days. I would like to come and visit America.”






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