Letters From A Retired Miner – Part 3

Running After Namukolo's Love

When I was walking behind Namukolo my heart was pumping fast. This girl made me believe that she was made in heaven. She was very beautiful. She was walking like an angel. I have seen many women walking and I have walked behind many beautiful women on the roads. But this girl was special. I don't know why. In my heart I was saying to myself "This woman is so beautiful that I can even drink her bathing water!"

Nsofwa said to me: "Do you want to talk to her? If you want to talk to her we must walk quickly before she gets in her house."

I said "No. I can't think of something now. I need time so that I can think properly. Let us just follow her."

Many houses in Buchi had fences made of flowers or small bushes. Some of the foot paths between houses were small. The flower fences were tall. When Namukolo and the older lady turned the corner we stopped seeing them. I started running to see which house she was entering. I was running very fast and Nsofwa followed me, running fast also. When I came to the corner of the flowers there was nobody. So I ran faster to another corner. When I came around the next corner I almost stepped on the girl! She was kneeling in the road with the old lady. They were greeting a man wearing a suit. He was holding his bicycle and smiling at the women. On the carrier of his bicycle he was carrying a chicken tied with a string to the carrier. The man was saying something but he stopped when he saw me suddenly. I stopped quickly without stepping on the ladies but Nsofwa was still running. He came round the corner and bumped me in the back. Nsofwa fell down in the flowers and I fell down on top of the bicycle that the man was holding.

The little girl was sitting in Namukolo's lap. When Nsofwa and I fell down there was a lot of noise from the bicycle and the flowers because the flowers got broken. The little girl was about 3 years old. She jumped up and ran behind Namukolo and started crying very loud like someone was killing her. The man pulled me up from his bicycle and asked me something in Lozi. I did not understand what he was saying. I just started clapping my hands together softly. I said "Please forgive me, please forgive me." But the man was very angry. He started shouting and pointing at me and Nsofwa.

Nsofwa fell inside the flowers with his head. When he came out his shirt was torn on his shoulder. He also started saying forgive me. The man started to say something about Bemba people. Even now Namukolo refused to tell me what the man was shouting. She said he was just very angry that we can kill the child and hurt the old lady if we are running in the dark like children.

Inside my head I started thinking what I am going to do. I was shy to look at Namukolo so I was looking down at the man's shoes. Nsofwa walked behind me and pulled me behind. Nsofwa pulled me because he wanted us to go back to Wusakile. I was thinking that if we go back may be Namukolo will be thinking where are these people going. So I pulled Nsofwa the other way. We almost fell down again. We were now in front where Namukolo was going. We started walking fast until we came to the corner of the fence on the other side.

Nsofwa was asking what we were going to do and I just said let us wait here.

Nsofwa said "If we wait here that girl is going to know that we are following her."

We agreed that we shall go around the fence of the next house and peep around the corner. By this time it was getting dark. We waited.

After about 5 minutes a lot of people came round the corner. Some of them turned and started coming where we were hiding. They were saying bye to their friends who turned to the other side of the fence. I pretended that I was cleaning my shoes with my handkerchief.  Nsofwa was pretending that he was looking at his shirt where it was torn. I was carefully looking at the people that were passing to see Namukolo. May be six or eight people passed but Namukolo was not there.

Nsofwa looked at me and I looked at Nsofwa. We said what are we going to do? So we walked back to the middle of the fence. When we looked where we had the accident the ladies and the man were not there. We decided to follow the other group of people that went the other way. We ran around the corner. This time we were careful so that we did not fall down again if the ladies were greeting another relative. But there was no one.

Nsofwa said "Let's go home. It is night time now. We can't see your girl in the night."

I said "Ok. If you want to go back, leave me. I want to find where she went."

He said "You know I can't leave you here alone. You are my friend. I don't think it is a good idea for you to like a woman from another tribe. You don't even know her language! What are you going to say to her?"

I think if you love someone you can not be worried about some problems. I was not worried that I did not know Lozi language,  in my heart I just wanted to find her.

We walked around the houses and we asked some people if they saw two ladies. No one said yes.

After checking about 20 houses over the fences it was dark in the small foot paths. I started to feel very sad that maybe I will never see that girl again. When it was around 21.00 hours we did not find her. I decided that I will come back the following day during the day time and I will look for that beautiful girl.

We went to the bus stop. That time the inter-city buses stopped in Buchi near the corner between Kwacha Road and Chingola Road (Independence Avenue – Ed.). We got home very late. I wanted to sleep because I was going to work at 5.00 hours in the morning. Nsofwa said "Come to my house, I will cook something and we shall eat." I was not feeling hungry any more. I just wanted to find that girl.

When I was lying in my bed I was just thinking of the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I could not sleep. I was asking myself "What is her name?" "Where is her house?" And then I started thinking if that crying child is her child maybe she is married to a Lozi man. I was very sad.

When I was just lying in bed the cock crowed around 4.00hrs. I did not sleep the whole night. When I was lying in my bed that morning I decided to do something that I had never done before. I decided that I was not going to work until I found that girl! That night there was nothing more important in the world. I must find that girl.


Did you miss Shi Bwembya's earlier Letters From A Retired Miner?

Catch up here:

Part 1 – My Retirement

Part 2The Day I Followed Namukolo Home


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