Thursday, February 16, 2006

Visiting an old friend in Zambia

It was just before Christmas three years ago that my wife Betty and I decided to visit Betty's old friend Mary whilst we were in Lusaka. Betty and Mary had worked together for many years and although they hadn't seen much of each other since Betty moved to Botswana they were still incredibly close. I'd only met Mary once and that was at our wedding so I was looking forward to spending time with her.

To catch up with Mary we went to the Hybrid Poultry Farm where Mary still worked. Betty went in and asked for Mary. We were told that Mary was unwell and that she had been admitted to the University Teaching Hospital. Betty was not unduly concerned though as she was reassured that Mary was recovering from her illness.

It was a couple of days later that Betty and I travelled to UTH to visit Mary. We'd have gone sooner but we had many people to see during our short time in Lusaka. The hospital was a vast building not too dis-similar to many post-war hospitals in the UK.

We knew which ward Mary was admitted to so we made our way straight there.

Upon arrival at the ward Betty asked for Mary. The nurse she spoke to asked us to wait one minute whilst she went to speak to the matron. The nurse soon returned with the matron to give us the news that Mary had passed away during the night...

Betty was obviously in deep shock. I was dumbfounded. Betty thanked the nurses for their assistance and we walked back to the car in silence.

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