Today it is ten years since we left for Zambia – left for real, rather than attempted to leave (if that doesn’t make sense, see the extract from the opening of my book, below). 7 June 2003 we left; 8 June we arrived. And in honour of ten years the ebook version of In the Shade of the Mulberry Tree will be at the reduced price of 99c or 77p from tomorrow for the next two weeks only!
Another world, another culture, another home. The reason for going was my husband’s research into childhood malnutrition and immune systems. Over the coming months and years I learnt a lot about the link between poverty and malnutrition, and the devastating results that a lack of food can cause.
This year there is a rally in Hyde Park to highlight the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. 1 in 8 people go to bed hungry, yet there is enough food on the planet to feed everyone. Ten years on from when we left for Zambia there is progress, but it is never fast or fair enough for me.
Consider supporting the IF campaign: attend the rally and hassle your MPs and Prime Minister ahead of the G8 Conference in Northern Ireland next weekend.
Let’s see if we can make a difference for the next generation.
Extract from In the Shade of the Mulberry Tree
It was as the Heathrow Express was dipping underground, leaving London and all that I knew behind, that calamity struck.
“Stephen, where are the passports?”
He stood up to check. They weren’t in his coat pocket. They weren’t in his rucksack. They weren’t even in the basket under the pram where we put everything else.
They were nowhere to be found.
We were still searching when the train pulled into the airport. I knew with a cold certainty that they were lost.
It wasn’t as if I had even wanted to emigrate. It had been a year since Stephen received the funding to do his medical research: anything to do with childhood malnutrition, dendritic cells or the immune system and he was in his element. We had both known the project meant living abroad for a couple of years, but I’d secretly hoped that something might stop this happening. What did Zambia hold for me? What if the children caught malaria? How would we cope far from family and friends?
Still, I didn’t plan for us to lose our passports an hour before departure.