By David Kapoma


The past 3 days I have shared some of the hearty experiences I have had in my life from selling vegetables to being bus conductor but I have not shared what happened when an opportunity came for me to travel to Europe for studies.

It all happened like a dream, my supervisor came to me when i worked as a volunteer and told me to fill in a some form and told me I had been recognised as one of the youths from Zambia being given scholarships to go and Study in Ireland.

The strange thing with scholarship is that I never went round looking for one. In fact I never even imagined I would be given one. But it really came and the process was so fast that within a period of 6 weeks I got my passport, visa and had my travel documents such as insurance and tickets purchased.

Closer to the travel date which was in November that year I got serious stomach clamps. Okay had so many questions in my head. I searched how the Weather in Dublin was and the type of culture. One thing was so obvious they had no Nshima on the food menu.

I could imagine myself surviving without 5 fingers. I told my excited sister to park some mealie meal for me at least even a 5 kg which I can cook some nshima a few times. Awe sure my sister did as brother said.

This was my first time to be on a plane. It was something like 21 hrs of travel the first trip being Lusaka to London Heathrow on British airways. When I was checking in at the airport I checked the baggage only upto London instead of going straight to Dublin. Ala ubu tutu bubi bane.

When I got on the plane I could hear the sound of the engines running and my heart went direct into prayer mode. “God just in case I don’t see my family again at least I have stepped foot on a plane, but preserve me so that I tell I story when I return”. We went in the air for just about 7 minutes and the plane U-turned as the captain made an announcement that the plane developed a fault.

So we delayed and spent another night in Lusaka. I remember not telling my family that we did not go just in case they decide to pick me and never take me back to the airport again. So British airways booked us at Pamodzi Hotel.

The following say we were picked and off we went. We arrived at Heathrow in the early hours of the morning. I got LOST! I didn’t want to ask anyone anything. Those who travel understand that I needed to make a connection to Dublin. I had Jo idea how this was to be done. I started looking for my bag I could not find.

Until my name was called by security after several hours of going round the airport admiring things. I saw someone who looked like a person I knew and that was Omotolo Jeladi the Nigerian actress. I aksed her what I needed to do and she handed more over to security.

My God!!! They had been looking for me for possible arrest as I carried cocaine in my bag.

I argued with security I carried no drugs. “This is mealie meal am carrying, we use it to cook nshima”. the more I justified the more questions I got. They believed I concealed drugs in my bag. They removed everything from the bag, searched everywhere on my body. Brought in dogs to search but found nothing on me. But they believed the mealie meal concealed drugs.

I was kept for more than 7 hours. I missed my connections flight to Dublin. I was getting scared and tired. I could not feel my knees anymore. My eyes were red like never before. My heart was racing.

After enough interrogation I was set free but my. Mealie meal remained with security. When checking in my bag I don’t known what went wrong. I arrived in Dublin but my bag went to. Durban South Africa. I imagine now I was in Dublin with no clothes to. Change, no money and no friends. I felt hopeless in a foreign land.

My advise…. Never carry mealie meal on the plane..



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