One day we were lazing at our campsite near the South Luangwa National Park when a young Zambian thoughtfully cleared his throat a little distance away, preparing us for his soft greeting. He was pushing a bicycle laden with veggies in a huge sack strapped on the back carrier. We discovered lettuce, spinach, leeks, green peppers, guavas, paw-paws, even basil, coriander and parsley, and chose a few things to buy, all beautifully fresh and aromatic as organically grown produce is.
It seemed impolite to pry into how they had died, whether it was in an accident or whether they were just another Zambian HIV/Aids statistic.
More important was Shadrack’s story.
Instead of giving up or expecting anyone else to care for him, he was prepared to work hard and pay his way. It was obvious that his ancient and gearless black bike was his prize possession, the thing that allowed him to market his produce. It had cost him 400 000 kwacha (about ZAR680 or US$80), he confided in a reverent tone that suggested this was an almost impossible sum, a good investment he was proud of.
It wasn't a huge amount of money in the big scheme of things, but his quiet smile lit up the whole campsite and left us feeling we were the ones who had got the better deal.
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