We were supposed to be there by 10am, it was one call after another. we were black mailed by some big bus conductors who assured us that the bus would start off around 08:00hours.
The women in Kabwe gathered at 09:30 hours, singing and waiting for our arrival. Kabwe is a two hour drive from Lusaka. We sat for an hour, the bus was not moving, and people who disguised themselves as passengers started walking out of the big bus one by one, until we remained a handful.
I was escorting a researcher who came from another country to meet a support group of women in Kabwe. Together with other real passengers we tried to pursued the driver to give us our money back but all in vain.
We waited, another hour passed and another hour and the bus was not moving.
Finally at 14 hours we decided enough is enough and we got into another bus which started off immediately.
We arrived around 16:00hours, when the women saw us approaching, they stood, sang songs and welcomed us as if they had seen Queen Elizabeth. The feel of their hands as they shock mine, made me realize how organized, cooperative the group was and how they were eager to find a solution to their problems. These women are HIV positive yet they had to wait for over four hours, with no food, outside a house made of mad and thatched roof.
Though we made our apology, these women told us they understood and it was alright. They were thrilled to listen to us and answered our questions with the last energy they had in their bodies. We had just gone there to discuss their sexual reproductive problems, not provide a solution yet they gave their time to us.. The soft touch of their hands to me represented the patience, humility, perseverance and determination to perceive change. The willingness to leave their families, their small business and gather as a group with one common goal was a symbol of wanting to improve their poor lives and make it best for their children and children’s children. Holding hands is a symbol of love but it is also a symbol of hard work, understanding and in the end create change in our lives.