AuthorsDen.com   Join (Free!) | Login  

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
   Services MarketPlace (Free to post!)
Where Authors and Readers come together!

SIGNED BOOKS    AUTHORS    eBOOKS new!     BOOKS    STORIES    ARTICLES    POETRY    BLOGS    NEWS    EVENTS    VIDEOS    GOLD    SUCCESS    TESTIMONIALS

Featured Authors:  Ann Marquette, iScott Boyd, iLisa DAnnolfo Levey, iJansen Estrup, iGwendolyn Moore, ial squitieri,sr, iWilliam Pusey, i

  Home > Travel > Books Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Mark A Burke

· Become a Fan
· Contact me
· Books
· 1 Titles
· Add to My Library
· Share with Friends!
·
Member Since: Sep, 2009

Mark A Burke, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.


Glimmers of Hope : A Memoir of Zambia
by Mark A Burke   

Share this with your friends on FaceBook

Category: 

Travel

Publisher:  Createspace ISBN-10:  1448690846 Type: 
Pages: 

192

ISBN-13:  9781448690848
Non-Fiction

The true story of a London schoolteacher, who, tired of the rat race and brooding over a failed relationship, uproots and volunteers to teach in rural Africa for two years. Sent to the Republic of Zambia with a remit to teach maths, HIV and Gender awareness, he finds both hope in unusual places, and corruption where he least expects. This memoir is both a recollection of his more vivid memories of eastern province, and his reflections on problems in Zambia and their possible causes. It is also a useful study of the physical and psychological challenges that a volunteer may face in Africa.

Amazon
Lulu
Amazon

The true story of a London schoolteacher, who, tired of the rat race and brooding over a failed relationship, uproots and volunteers to teach in rural Africa for two years. Sent to the Republic of Zambia with a remit to teach maths, HIV and Gender awareness, he finds both hope in unusual places, and corruption where he least expects. This memoir is both a recollection of his more vivid memories of eastern province, and his reflections on problems in Zambia and their possible causes. It is also a useful study of the physical and psychological challenges that a volunteer may face in Africa.


Excerpt

It was another violent thunderstorm, the beginning of my second year of service. The rain began hammering on the tin roof and every few minutes it seemed the air itself was torn apart by a savage lightning strike and an ominous rumble of thunder. I was curled up on my sofa reading, with the cats trying to sleep on the opposite seat. Suddenly Rhino got up and stiffened, a low growl emanating from his throat. I recognised it as the warning he gave to dogs, usually before they were chased off or smashed round the face with a claw. Old Benz, the neighbours dog, had probably run over as he sometimes did to shelter on my porch. Rhino jumped down from the seat and padded to the front door. He looked back at me, but I couldn’t be bothered to get up. ‘ Leave it Rhino, its probably just Benz’ I murmured. But he persisted, seeming more agitated than usual. Maybe a new dog was in town and Rhino was particularly eager to teach it a lesson. I once seen a large dog, obviously new to the area, trot confidently into the compound and then turn right back again when it saw the world`s angriest cat running straight at it. Around here the cats were king. Now, I sighed and heaved myself up. ‘ Fine, have him away then..’ I opened the door and suddenly was staring a large snake in the face. It was green, thick and muscular with a broad head. Two cold reptilian eyes seemed to regard me with disdain and contempt. It flicked its tongue out at us and remained otherwise still. The snake had slithered halfway out of the storm gutter onto the porch and was about three feet away. I had no idea what kind of a snake it was, how fast, or how poisonous it might be. I cursed myself for not learning something about snakes after being here over a year. But the snake was big and formidable looking and didn’t seem particularly intimidated by me. What I wanted to do of course was close the door, but on the other hand I didn’t want to let the snake out of my sight. It was probably attracted by the warmth of the house and looking for somewhere dry to hole up during the storm. If I let it out of my sight it might find another way in. Audrey had once told me of a black mamba that had been found in the bathroom drainpipe. And I didn’t want to let it escape. With small children around, this snake would have to die one way or another. My storm-gutters were filled with the torrential rain - the snake was definitely going to haul itself further onto the porch. I looked around for my phone, ( halfway through my service mobiles had arrived in Sinda ) and thankfully it was right on the table behind me. I twisted around and managed to grab the phone whilst still keeping an eye on my guest. Quickly I messaged the deputy. ‘ Bloody big snake here. What do I do ?’ Rhino suddenly jumped forward onto the porch and puffed himself up. The snake visibly tensed, muscles quivering, and emitted a low growl. I had no idea snakes could growl too! The snake began to inch itself further up the porch, and Rhino promptly gave up and ran behind me. His usually successful bluffing had been called. This was no mere dog. Muscles squirmed and rippled under a diamond skin as the snake hauled the rest of its body onto the porch. The multiple ribs wiggled and shuffled the snake forward like legs in a bag. Suddenly the snake stopped and turned to look at us again. Fink had joined us, and was crouching low, aimed directly at the snake like a missile about to fire. She slowly crept forward until the snake was only a foot and a half away. Something in her manner told the snake that unlike Rhino, this cat was deadly serious about fighting. The snake stopped and turned to focus on Fink. For all her dimunitive size, she looked far more confident than Rhino in dealing with such a creature. I had seen her bring in giant rats that were almost as big as herself, so wondered if maybe she could pull this off after all. Both animals froze and looked poised to strike at each other. I had to wonder, had Fink done this before ? She looked like she had, but I had no idea if she could really deal with this. But for now she appeared to have halted the beast in its tracks. It was a stand-off. I took the opportunity to dart into the kitchen and grab a ‘slasher’ ( a kind of long machete for grass cutting ) . When I came back nothing had changed. I looked doubtfully at the slasher in my hand. I had no idea how fast a striker this snake was. I didn’t want to try, but I would have to intervene if Fink was attacked. Someone had told me that bush cats were immune to snake poison, but I wasn`t going to take the chance. Suddenly Rhino came trotting around the corner of the house. He had gone out the side window to move around the house and approach the snake from behind. He too froze and crouched low waiting for the snake to move. At least the odds were improved. But still no animal moved. I stood frozen as well, slasher held limply in my nervous hand, beginning to tire and feel nauseus from the continual adrenalin.
At last the deputy’s boy arrived, shouting a greeting from the end of my path.
‘ Mr. Burke, where is it ?’
‘ Right here ! On the porch !’ He shuffled forward until he could see the snake clearly. ‘ Ah, ok, I know these snakes. We will throw bricks! Can I throw these ?’ he asked, picking up the bricks that lined my storm gutters.
‘ Yeah, ok, wait, let me get my cats out the way!’ I jumped up and down, shouted, waved my hands until eventually the cats cautiously withdrew to a safe distance. The bricks began to fly, looping down in big arcs on top of the snake, but more often exploding in red powder on my porch as they missed. A big one however soon crushed the middle of the snake`s body and the serpent whipped its head around and bared huge white fangs. It shuffled further up the porch, smearing blood on the concrete as it passed. Now with room to manouevre I jumped forward and began throwing bricks too. Eventually a large one landed on its head and it appeared to stop moving. We kept throwing until the head was suitably flattened. The mouth was jarred open, fangs still exposed in a futile attempt to strike an assailant. I left it on the porch which was now smeared with blood and broken red brick. Rhino re-approached the snake cautiously and sniffed, as if to double-check that it really was dead.




Want to review or comment on this book?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!




Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.