roots

January 31, 2007

Coming to the country of my father’s resting place could never have prepared me for the apparent grasp-ability of a first visit to his grave.
Here I am, just over one week into my sojourn as a teacher, not connected in the slightest with my childhood roots, and yet I have happened upon quite a close connection.
Finding out my Zambia history, the owner here at the lodge said he thought one of the guides was from that area, and that it may not be very far from here. Sure enough, the next night this guide asked to see me.
His name is Meekson, and he is indeed from my home village. He also returns there every weekend during the dry season, when the trip takes only a day. This man was working for the school where my father taught, and he also went to the church to hear my father preach. The day my parents’ car accident was found, Meekson was involved in handling the crushed vehicle. He described the white car, gesturing to indicate the V-shape that I could picture perfectly from the pictures I saw. He was able to describe Daddy’s grave, and to reassure me of what I’ve always wondered: there is a woman there who has faithfully tended his grave for all these years.
Meekson had me write a letter to the one woman I remembered by name—the other widow of that accident’s fatalities. He knows her as a teacher there, and will see her this next weekend when he goes. She will certainly send a letter back this coming week, he assured me.
My own visit will likely have to wait several months yet, until the rains abate and the roads allow for a manageable length of a trip. But that is alright with me; the knowledge that it is feasible is enough for now.

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