Best present – from prison

As I mentioned before, I volunteered in prisons, mainly in the women’s wing of Central Prison in Lusaka.  Those were some of the best and productive years of my life.  I have never felt that alive again.  I saw a lot of untold suffering there, but I also saw a lot of love and generosity.  People who had nothing would pass would refuse my gifts of food, clothing, etc just so I could give those inmates who were worse off.

I went to visit the women as usual one day and had a great time once again.  At the end of the program, I bade farewell them and started off for the exit when one of the Congolese detainees asked to speak with me.  She was with about six/seven other Congolese women.  She seemed to be the leader and started speaking to me in her native language, which I did not understand.  Another Congolese woman translated and I was amazed at the message.  Apparently, the Congolese women were thanking me for helping them with moving their case.  They had been in detention for months without their embassy’s knowledge.  I informed the embassy about the women and this prompted the embassy to visit them and get their case heard in court.  The result was that the women would be sent back to their homeland of DRC and the were very happy about that.

The leader then said she and the others wanted to give me a present as appreciation of my assistance.  She went to get the present and came back with some vegetables crudely wrapped in a piece of sack.  I have never been so touched as I was at that time.   I had not realized how much my little contributions helped the inmates.  No other vegetables have tasted as good as those prison ones.

I thanked the ladies and went to the prison warders to tell them what had happened.  They said they knew all about it as the Congolese (Congoleses?) had asked for permission first before they talked to me.

I still regularly remember that day with great fondness.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeff Bell
    Jan 23, 2019 @ 07:12:12

    I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to work in a prison in Lusaka, but hats off to you for doing it. Those are most certainly some of the most vulnerable people in the world and need all the help they can get. I’ve always been amazed at how people with the least are also the most generous.


  2. My Inner Chick
    Jun 12, 2016 @ 21:45:13

    How wonderful to be volunteering at a women’s prison. I’ve always wanted to do that! BRAVA!!)))) And what a nice gift to receive. They appreciate you.


  3. mukhamani
    Mar 29, 2016 @ 12:20:04

    Thank you for sharing, it makes life wonderful.


  4. Gallivanta
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:10:47

    What a wonderful memory, and how wonderful to know you made such a difference to the lives of these women.


  5. Minuscule Moments
    Jan 25, 2016 @ 07:06:11

    What a beautiful story and an amazing work experience you must have had. Looking out for the broken and forgotten. This post made me smile.


    • Zambian Lady
      Jan 25, 2016 @ 08:54:47

      I wrote this story because I miss those fulfilling years. I thought I would be helping the inmates, but they helped me live a more fruitful life. (I hope this post did not come out in a “look at what I did” way as I am just sharing my experiences). 🙂


      • Minuscule Moments
        Jan 25, 2016 @ 20:34:39

        No it gave me hope for the human race, your kindness is the key and compassion is a skill we all need to learn. I get that you learned so many things from these women and I thank you for sharing it.

  6. anotherday2paradise
    Jan 24, 2016 @ 22:03:27

    What a very moving story, ZL. It must have felt wonderful to know that you’d helped their case so much. Well done. 🙂


  7. BeeHappee
    Jan 24, 2016 @ 14:59:05


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