September 18, 2005



Tuli was suddenly beside Pete as he stood and stared up the hill after the departing Movers and Shakers of the District, "Come on,” she said, “let’s go sit in the shade, away from all this dust and smell around here.“ She carried a radio tuned to Radio Zambia, she wore a mahia, the traditional patterned cloth wrap of country women, instead of the khaki pants or jeans which he had seen her wear previously.
Pete realised now that she had been one of the waitresses he had seen busy in the open sided bar near the jetty. “I help out in many of my father’s businesses.” she said, “But I think that place will be pretty quiet for a while now, those Zimbabwe guys have all left for their big camp inland, so they don’t need me there this afternoon. The regular barman will be back this evening, and he can look after our local customers.”
They strolled over to where the boat was tied up, and settled on a convenient log beside a big rock. A slight breeze off the lake stirred the trees enough to shift the leaf shadows into dancing patterns on the red earth, and a dove cooed gently and insistently somewhere close by. The radio played a mix of Beatles and Stones, the latest from London, with Mbaqanga music, bright jolting rhythms and metallic guitars with lyrics in Bemba or Chinyanja from up by the Congo.
She had brought several bottles of Castle Lager, and so they sat companionably and sipped, taking things slowly. “You know.” she said,“I love it here, this is my place, here in the bush by the old river valley, but really there isn’t a future here for me. When I was a child I thought we would live by the river forever, but then they came to build the dam, and I was sent to boarding school, and every time I came back, things were changed.