A marked man

by Luke, in Zambia
22nd September, 2009

Noah and I spent a fantastic Tuesday afternoon together last week. Unfortunately, during the only period in the last month when I had sole responsibility of my son, he fell off the swing in the park not once, but twice. Like a Spartan warrior, he was pretty unfazed by the whole incident – and was demanding to be airlifted back onto the swing in a flash, giggling and shrieking with laughter; defeat was not an option. The problem was not in the falling off, nor in what turned out to be the epic duration of time we spent on our afternoon walk (he was late for tea) but the fact that the mud I had thought was encrusted around his face actually turned out to be blood.

Suffice to say it hasn’t passed unnoticed in the local village. The graze is absolutely huge and upon seeing it, everyone immediatley assumes it must have been my fault (an assumption that has cut me to the quick – albeit a correct one). I should basically be walking around in a flea ridden straw coat as penance carrying a large sign of apology as far as the local housewives are concerned. And the raised eyebrows that greet me at every turn in our tiny village, have scarred me emotionally.

So it is with my tail between my legs, that I’m back on the plane, happy in the knowledge that Noah will be fully healed by my return and am now counting down the days when we can re-attack the swing and prove to all and sundry that as a team, we can nail it without incident, responsibily. I will keep you posted.

I’m currently sitting elbow to elbow with Dawn from Marlow, squashed up in the hold as we power our way over the Sahara in a 767. I’ve been reassured that Zambia is a wonderful country. Dawn goes over twice a year for five weeks at a time and leaves her beautiful pub, The Queens Head (which has featured on Midsommer Murders and Inspector Morse) in the hands of her husband to escape to the bush. The thought of tearing yourself away from an endless supply of fine vintage ales surely proves visiting Zambia must be worth the trip. Zambia is the world’s fourth poorest country (ref Bruce/Wikkipaedia), so it has a bit of a struggle going on – but word is that the people are wonderfully friendly and I’m excited.

I’ll be working with a charity called Lusaka Animal Welfare (LAWS) and as normal, have little idea what to expect. I would imagine lots of dogs, cats, a poor African Township and some inspirational people battling against the odds. Fingers crossed.

Marc has put his German feet up for this one and Nick is taking the helm with Adam returning to crack the whip. Bruce, as normal, is sleeping at the back of the plane. It just wouldn’t be the same without him.

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