There’s a certain serenity that comes over me when I’m visiting my home country. It sounds corny, but being there really helps contribute to my mental well-being. And that’s not to say everything is peaches and cream, but there’s an obvious calmness.
I’m still reeling from my recent visit during the month of July. I spent the first few days in unscheduled bliss. I took the first day to just take it all in so I wrote this:
Simplicity. Sitting outside on the grass watching the ants follow each other, letting the flies, even the dirty green ones take rides on my legs. The smell of the sewer isn’t gross, it’s nostalgic, but it does need the city’s attention. The sun is warm, bright, but I’m not worrying about sunscreen. This is Africa. If you don’t come to get kissed by the sun, then you’re looking for a different kind of love.
On the second day, I woke up late and stayed in bed to do some actual reading. Even when my cousin’s son popped in a few dozen times to have me adjust his Ben 10 watch, I was not irritated. I was home! I showered and went outside to play football with him, his fast talking two-year-old sister and their cute little neighbour, Thabo.
When the weekend rolled around I took a forced, but unforgettable bus trip from Lusaka to Kitwe with my sister. We braved the ten-degree 6 a.m. temperature and watched as passengers and hordes of luggage filled the bus without us. We found ourselves safely seated half an hour later on the next bus and waited for the preacher to come and bless our trip (this is common place prior to most departures).
The preacher never showed up, perhaps it was too early for such jubilation. But the conductor certainly didn’t think so. Ten minutes into the ride, he decided to put on some local gospel music that, if it were not for the speakers being above every seat, could’ve been tolerated for more than a minute. My sister eagerly put up her hand like an annoying know-it-all, and kindly reminded Joseph (he had a name tag) that despite the uplifting tunes we were going lose our hearing.
I was pleasantly surprised that we were not subjected to a mind-numbing volume erring Nigerian movie and instead enjoyed an action flick starring Mark Wahlberg that repeated just when things were getting heated. So much for change.
When we got to Kitwe, we were swarmed by a number of men that were fighting to help us with our luggage. An argument ensued with two of them tossing profanities at each other and I found myself acting as a mediator. My mum saved the day literally, when she arrived just in time with her own helper that swatted off the others.
We were home. The next few weeks my siblings and I were stuck to each other like glue. We spent our days eating, catching up with friends and family, powering napping, and most importantly laughing our heads off.
I’m usually plagued by migraines, but only suffered twice the entire month I was home. And though home does not come with its share of worries especially when you have aging parents it definitely re-energizes and reminds me that the best things in life are free.