Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Catherine Sepa was the head girl in Mufulira Secondary School during the year 1975. She was well-liked and respected by the students. The teachers found her as a very reliable person. She left the school at the end of that school year and there was no contact thereafter.

We left Zambia in 1996. During our stay of twenty eight years in that country, we had acquired a lot of stuff including books and many household things. Most of the old things from way back our stay in Luwingu were still stacked in our store room. We decided to get rid of most of them but to send the books, some crockery, kitchen utensils and gadgets as unaccompanied baggage to India. We got some special wooden crates from the traders, modified them in the woodwork department and packed the articles in those. We used a lot of packing material in between so that fragile items were not damaged during transit. Our home address and the name of the destination airport were stenciled neatly on each box. Arrangements were made with A.M.I (Agency Maritime International) to collect the boxes from our place and send them as air cargo. Accordingly they sent their truck to collect the stuff from our apartment in Mufulira and take it to their office in Kitwe. We accompanied the truck in our car to the Kitwe office where we signed the necessary papers and made the payment. They assured us that the cargo would be sent by road to Lusaka within three days but they could not tell us how long it would take for the Lusaka office to send it by air to my home city of Trivandrum. It may take many days before they could send them. As we would be leaving Mufulira within a couple of days and then staying in Lusaka for a week before our departure to India, we gave them as contact number, the phone number of one Mr. Thomas in Lusaka with whom we had intended to stay.

Two or three days after our arrival in Lusaka, Mr. Thomas received a phone call from the A.M.I office in Lusaka. The manager wanted to know whether Mr. G. John from Mufulira was staying with him and if so, she wanted to meet him. Mr. Thomas thought that it would be for something in connection with the unaccompanied baggage I sent and he gave the caller directions to reach his house where we were staying. After about half an hour, a white Toyota Corolla car came in through the gates and a well-dressed lady in her late thirties got out of the driver's seat. She was ushered in by Mr. Thomas' wife Molly and she introduced herself as the branch manager of A.M.I, Lusaka. She added that she had come to see Mr. G. John and his wife. Imagine our surprise and pleasure when we recognized her as none other than our former student! While we were wondering how she managed to trace us after all these years, she explained that she saw my name and contact number in the manifest of a recent consignment of goods destined for India and the rest was simple.

We talked for a while and then she said she should run along. However, she promised even without my asking that our unaccompanied baggage would be sent by the first available cargo flight even though there was quite a considerable backlog of cargo owing to the discontinuation of flights to India by Zambia Airways.

The Branch Manager kept her word. Three days after reaching Trivandrum, we received intimation from the Airport Cargo Complex that our unaccompanied baggage had arrived. And sure enough, we found all of them intact and ready for clearance and collection.

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