Lusaka 7 april 2016
Airports and new horizons
The world is a village. Well … if that’s true, then at the very least a very special village. But not everything in this village is close by. Lusaka for example is pretty far if you’re from Amsterdam; and since they stopped direct flights to Zambia’s capital even further. There only needs to be one little hitch and it’ll take you three days to get there.
Doesn’t matter. Now that we can smell ‘home’, that we’re almost there, all my anger about a trivial technical problem that kept us one day on the ground in Dubai, is forgotten and forgiven. No, you don’t have to avoid me anymore, the risk of explosion has passed, the bomb has been defused. You can all approach me again.
There were also good things about the delay. Honestly. Once again you were very pleasant to look at. Thanks for that. The way you say goodbye to each other at different airports was heart-warming.
In Amsterdam, I noticed many kissed. A kiss, a kiss, run away, run back quickly, a long kiss, and no, this was not the last because there followed one, two, three quick kisses before each went their separate ways. Even then we are not there. Before the partner, loved one or family member is really out of sight, that is after passport control, there are at least three kisses blown to the one left behind.
At Dubai airport they’re less exuberant. Which doesn’t change the emotional character of the farewell. On the contrary. Endlessly gazing deeply into each other’s moist eyes, without the slightest physical contact, is equally heart breaking.
To the boy in his white djellaba who stood with his girlfriend to the left of the coffee corner as much as possible out of sight of the crowd, I still want to say; “She loves you. Very much. When you finally let her go, finally walked away without even once turning back, she cried for at least fifteen minutes. Gently, with her head turned away from the travellers who walked past her”.
It hurt. Her and me.
They don’t kiss in Lusaka either. Nor do they gaze long into each other’s eyes. Yet even here the emotions fly through the air. They laugh, loud and hearty. And even though lips don’t touch, they do touch each other in a thousand different ways. Everyone is happy to see each other.
We feel it ourselves. We were welcomed like old friends who had stayed away too long. It did the tired bodies and tense minds the world of good.
Tomorrow is our first visit to New Horizons. We are ready to discover new horizons. Excited, a little nervous, but full of impatience we wait for the morning. First we are going to meet Dr. Lloyd Mulenga, the man who took the initiative for this, then see and speak to all the other doctors. Then we are going to be with all those young girls and young boys who have that awful virus in their blood. Because we want to hear and see what it’s like now with the enormous HIV and AIDS issues in this hot country, where they don’t kiss but are still happy with each other.
Photo by: Willem Aerts