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Pole to Pole

Day 109: Mpulungu to Shiwa

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleI look around the garden of the lodge. This morning it all looks different - the water drum at which I had waited patiently for much of the night to extract enough water to flush the Victory; the overlanders, blearily packing for another day of discomfort; the flies buzzing around the dogs.

Denish has done his best for us. His lodge, after all, was built for himself and a handful of occasional travellers, not for the thirty-five people who were sharing it last night. I'm sad to say goodbye to him but glad to leave Mpulungu behind.

On the road there is plenty of evidence of the euphoria following Chiluba's victory over Kaunda, which appears to have been a landslide. Men, women and children raise their hands in the finger-and-thumb salute of the MMD - the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy. I see a group of villagers clustered round a radio beneath a spreading mango tree, listening to Kaunda's resignation speech.

I remember Japhet on the boat telling me that whichever side won the election there would be 'no violence . . . Zambians are not like that'. Paul sees this as a negative quality. There are eight million Zambians, anything can grow here he maintains, but the economy is in ruins because the people are too easygoing and acquiescent.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 109
  • Country/sea: Zambia
  • Place: Mpulungu
  • Book page no: 248

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