Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The French, the Uruguayans and the Zambians

Zambia... not the most popular country in Africa;
the few people I know who have heard of it are either those that have visited Victoria Falls or those involved directly or not in Africa mining industry.

Because Zambia is located across what is called the Copperbelt, of the world's largest reserves of copper; and the country is Africa number one producer of the oldest metal known to men.

These past 18 months, I have visited this country over 10 times, essentially in the mining hub.
Once went to see the falls and for the first time I got all the up the capital city, Lusaka.

Zambian are very religious; and when it comes to doing business one can believe it is ideal, because they would be honest and sincere - I sure think they are - but when Karl Marx said that religion is the opium of the people he was perhaps referring to Zambians.

In my experience, they are the most soft, gentle and unfortunately passive people I have got to meet.
Great contrast when you visit their close neighbors from D.R.Congo (they deserve their own story on another day).

On my way here, about 20 minutes prior to landing , the pilot announced that we have been requested to wait for a little while as they are VVIP as he said arriving; the Japanese president I was told later on by a RPG-7 carrying soldier as I walked out of the plane.

We ended up going in circles over the town for about 9 times;
I had stopped counting at some point, but I could clearly make up the number of revolution we made as there is a massive shiny soccer stadium sticking out of the green during the approach.

I didn't mention I was traveling in a 12-seater and I was sitting right behind the pilots. So as we were happily going round and round I was curiously paying attention to try and catch our pilot checking if he could land. I may be wrong but I didn't hear him ask for any authorization, so he I was inspecting the town from above and counting how many times I had seen shiny stadium.

As for the title, I am writing this while watching the friendly between Les Bleus and La Celeste.

Excavator & Hunger Strike

One day my Mum returned from a trip and brought my brother and I new toys;
some random robot with lights in his eyes for me and a remote controlled excavator for my brother.

My brain had chosen to not remember all details of the scene but I recall the moment where she handed us the toys; she kept saying "please look after your toys this time !!! if anything breaks come see me immediately".

I left the scene to go enjoy y new toy with my 5 or so years old brain wondering what was she going to do should anything break. Replace it? Exchange? Fix?
Curiosity took over the excitement of getting a new toy. I started playing alongside my brother with my boggled mind.

Then suddenly, as if the gods had decided to get involved and enlighten my day, my brother who was busy trying to dig a hole in the gravel covered ground with his new toy when the arm of his truck broke (now that I think of it, it probably just unclipped or something). He looked sad - I secretly got excited.
I was rather sooner than expected going to find out what happens when you break your band new toy.

Here we were, like a procession carrying the broken toy to the veranda where my mum was sitting;
I was not directly concerned I just joined out of curiosity but my guts still had suggested I keep safe distance.

My brother showed his now two - three pieces toy to my Mum with those sad puppy eyes.
She gently took it from him, inspected the damages, put the evidences on the floor by her feet and requested that he brings the broom.

There I was watching, the tension rising and still with no idea of what was gonna happen.
Assessing what part of my robot I may have to break to get the same "reward".

The broom arrived and in an instant I saw my mum enter a brief moment of craze;
she flipped the broom and start bashing the truck on the floor angrily and destroying it further.

I panicked and ran far  away with Gizmo (just named him now).

Twenty and odd years later , in the middle of what happens to be one of the toughest period of my professional life I am sitting in a veranda at some hotel and the scenes of that day came flashing back to my mind.

A few moments earlier, I was reflecting on the mess I was currently in and I realize that I have the very bad habit of wanting to make matters worse when I find myself in an uncomfortable situation.

For instance, as a teenager when I was running out of pocket money, I would use my last cents to take a taxi somewhere away from home and land myself somewhere with no means to get back.

Often in my life, when things don't go my way, I try to put myself in even deeper problems;
like some kind of hunger strike to rebel against the universe.

I am now wondering if there is a link between the excavator destruction episode and my hunger strikes.