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By Michelle Fish

It had been a day of wonders, but we were ready for rest. Davies drove us into the City of Ndola to our hotel, tucked well back from the dusty streets behind high walls and a security gate. In its heyday, The Mukuba hotel and been a colonial gem, the hang out for mining company executives and the ruling British elite to meet and mingle. But those days are long gone, and the grand dame has a rumpled, slightly distressed feel about her.

We didn’t care. We were just happy to get there and be greeted by the resident herd of Impala. They wander the grounds like farm animals might back home… perfectly comfortable with human presence. Maybe they shouldn’t be.  The hotel cooks barbecue one every few months for their guests. But it was baby season when we arrived, and they were beautiful to see.

Our bed was comfortable, and the rooms were air conditioned…  it felt like heaven. The shower was barely a trickle, and not a warm trickle at that. Just as well, though, because we had been told to make sure we kept our mouths firmly closed while bathing. It wasn’t safe to consume even a small amount of the water, so we brushed our teeth from our bottles, took our malaria medicine, and passed out.

In the morning we woke to the caws of the peacocks. I think one of them might have had a crush on me. He kept showing me his beautiful tail, and he would pace in front of the door whenever I would walk back inside.

But my favorite part of the whole experience, though, was the sound of the frogs singing at night.  It made for a magnificent lullaby.

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