On Thursday last, Ida, Mubita and I arrived expectantly at Lusaka Airport at 0630h in the golden light of dawn, the bus carrying us out was throbbing to Lozi music as this weekend is when the Kuomboka Ceremony takes place, where the Litunga (King of the Lozis) moves from the flooded plain to the drier and higher ground – a wonderful and colourful traditional ceremony. We checked in our luggage and went on to Immigration. There was a slight complication here, as we are moving from Work Permits to Entry Permits in July Mubita is not on our present work-permit, however, we showed the Adoption Order and were allowed to proceed but advised to visit Immigration HQ on our return. We escalated, much to Mubi’s delight, to the Departure Lounge and awaited our flight to Heathrow to be called. 0850h came and went. We were not really concerned as punctuality and exact time-keeping here is the exception rather than the norm. At 0900h came the astonishing announcement that BA had cancelled our flight because of volcanic activity. We were told to proceed through Immigration again and collect our luggage. In the baggage hall we were met by a BA Rep, who arranged for us to be transferred to the Taj Pamodzi, Hotel where we would be accommodated until we were able to fly again. We are grateful to BA for taking care of us so well.
We have been allocated a very comfortable double room on the fourth floor. We have a satellite TV whose variety of news channels(BBC SKY & ALJEZEERA) keep us constantly updated on developments or the lack of them concerning the flight ban. We have our little Celtel modem which allows us to e-mail and keep in touch with family and friends. We went to Synod HQ to let them know our departure had been delayed. At the same time we took the opportunity to submit our entry permit, this process being expedited by Synod staff, and pleasant and helpful Immigration officials. They issued us with a Report Order and our receipt so we enter Zambia and pick up our Entry Permits in August on our return.
It has been unusual but enjoyable for us to be in Lusaka with so little to do. We bought Mubita a swim vest and have been enjoying a daily dip in the hotel swimming pool. On Saturday afternoon we caught up with some much-needed sleep with an extended siesta. On Sunday we worshipped at Holy Trinity, just round the corner. It was a wonderful time as we met up with two former pupils from Chengelo. Nawa is in his final year at UNZA doing a BSc and we were there to witness Kazynski’s Confirmation followed by Communion. This made up in some way for our missing the Sunday Service at Kildrum.
This time of frustration and waiting has been a good lesson for us, it shows that despite Western civilisation’s much vaunted pride in its technology and sophistication, thankfully they have still a long way to go before ‘nature is tamed’. We need still to use our God-given skills, gifts and talents to live with and overcome these challenges in a rational and moral fashion that glorifies God. It also underlines the danger in relying on one form of transport, even for long haul journeys, and points to the necessity of having a more balanced and integrated world transport network. It also points to the lamentable underdevelopment of alternative terrestrial modes of transport in Africa. Finally it is a clear demonstration of how interrelated and interdependent we all are in this world. To reduce it to a Sunday Post headline: Icelandic Volcano strands Scottish Family in Zambia…….. but the difference this time is there are millions of other similar personal stories world wide.