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.