The Bodyguard – Episode 23
By Tisa Phiri
A week later I drove back home from work. I was over working myself trying so hard to stay sane. I had been trying to contact people and some connections I thought Ackim could have had. I even paid off Kakoma to tell me anything he knew about Ackim but according to him, he had believed Ackim was dead. He even mentioned that if he were alive he would have at least appeared to make him suffer for what he did.
I didn’t want to tell him that Ackim went to George’s place, so I silently walked away.
“Good evening mam and welcome come back” the house worker greeted me as I walked to the house from the garage.
” is dad back?” I asked as she took my laptop and hand bag from my hands.
“No mam not yet” she responded
“but there’s a man in the house who came to see you and have been waiting for over 20 minutes now, he insisted he had to see you.”
“Oh I see” i nodded..
“where is he now? ”
“In the living room” she responded .
” let me see Him then, just put those in my bedroom and please prepare Me something to eat am so hungry” I instructed.
I walked to the living room and before me was a tall guy with funny small eyes. He looked like a giant Chinese man his mouth turned into a wide smile making it shape like an egg.
“Good evening” I greeted brushing off the thoughts of an-lysing him.
“Evening mam” he greeted back his voice taking me by surprise. it was deeper than his slim body. One would think someone else spoke behind him.
I sat across on the couch a small coffee table separating us . He had been served water and the glass cup was half empty.
I cleared my throat..
“yes sir ” I managed to say..
“how may I be of help?”
“Yeah I came to speak to you, am Chab. Ackim hired me months ago to find his family. I have been trying to contact him but all his lines won’t go through. so i remebered he had given me your address and names to come to you in case of anything.” he explained..
“so am here to find out if you know where he might be cause I have some news on his family.”
“Oh I see” i sighed after listening silently..
“unfortunately I also don’t know where he is sir. I have been looking for him, we were involved in some accident and i survived. we are unable to find him since then. Not even so sure whether he’s dead or alive” I told him..
He shook his head.. oh sad indeed.. no wonder he hasn’t contacted me he added sitting up .
“If Ackim told you to come to me it means he trusts me, you can tell me What you found out. God willing he comes back, i will be able to pass on the message.”
“Yeah sure” he smiled handing me a file.
“there are pictures of some people I found at what I think is the family. I located them near Kapiri MPoshi. no wonder looking for them in Ndola didn’t yield any results. They moved to some farm in the area a few kilometres to Kapiri all the details of the location are there” he pointed at the file in my hands.
I asked him a few more questions and he explained. he even told me Ackim was yet to pay him a balance of what he charged him. I right away wrote a cheque and gave it to him, thanking him I saw him to the door and he left.
Later in the night i placed the file contents on my bed looking at Photos of a woman who resembled Ackim and another girl of about 16. I wondered if that was all the people at that farm.
A thought crossed my mind. I started thinking that maybe Ackim had found his family and that is were he went. I planned that very night to travel to Kapiri the folowing day.
I didn’t know whether I was chasing after the wind like Dad said the time I went to tell him what I was up to or not. I just felt the strong urge to go and seek and find answers I wasn’t willing to let go of him yet.
Being a weekend I woke up early and prepared myself..I knew I would get tired driving all the way but the idea of getting a driver wasn’t an option. I had to do it alone.
Some hours later, I turned off the main road to a gravel road. I was being guided by the map drawn on some paper. It was a bit dusty. I drove for another 15 minutes when the house from the map appeared in front of me.
it was quite different from the others around that area, built out of burnt bricks,looked like it had 6 or so rooms. The wide area behind showed that the family there cultivated maize. some dry trunks of maize stems were cut down.
I placed my head on the seat top as my heart started pounding fast. I was so nervous. I pushed back my hair and tied it into a rough knot and got out to go to the door.
A tall slim girl I saw on the photos came out and greeted me. I felt glad she could use English. Since I came to Zambia I had never bothered to learn any local language, the only thing I could say fluently was a greeting and I learnt it from Ackim. Anything else was hard to pronounce. I greeted her back and explained my mission.
“Am Paula coming from Solwezi, am a Friend of Ackim and I came to see his family.” I told her..
She looked at me and I saw her face frown. she asked me to go in..
“wait here” she indicated pointing at a sofa.
“Let me call my mother.”
She come back later with a woman. I presumed Ackim’s mother. He looked a lot like her only that she was lighter in complexion and her face was wider.
She looked pale and I could tell she wasn’t ok.
I stood to greet her and she responded weakly.
” who are you my child” she asked gently her calmness reminding me of Ackim. she had this tendernes in her voice that would calm you down just like her son’s.
I went on explaining myself again and told her I was looking for Ackim.
She was silent for some minutes and started sobbing.
” am sorry my dear, just that it’s been over 6 years since I last saw my son and i was meant to believe he’s dead . Unfortunately his father also died 7 Months ago. It’s so painful and has not been easy for us.
I felt a grip on my throat..
“am so sorry mom, I didn’t mean to cause you any more pain, but there is a chance that Ackim is still alive..”
I saw her look up at me expectantly.
I went on explaining about how he was held captive in Congo and all the details that followed later on. I explained the accident too.
“Am almost certain he’s alive somewhere and I promise to find him” i told her,
“he’s a good person and I know your son would do the same for me.”
“you are heaven sent my child. I can see it in your eyes you care so much about my son. I know among my children he was the one with a gentle spirit but the strenght of a soldier too. I miss him and my heart somehow gives me hope of seeing my son again” she said with tears in her eyes.
We talked for more than an hour and she told me about Ackim’s child hood and his other siblings, the girl who welcomed me was Ackim’s sister, the last born.The others went on to live in various areas.
Her illness was as a result of her kidney condition. Unfortunately she told me she had not been able to find enough money for the proper treatment since her husband died.I promised her to go back and see how I could help.
I left the farm when it as almost evening. I honestly felt relieved it was like i saw Ackim in some way. . “I have to help his mother” I thought to myself as I drove to Nsobe camp. I didn’t want to drive in the night so i Decided to lodge there.
I loved the sereninity of the camp. It had this natural envirnment that made one connect with their inner self and was so relaxing.
The cool air touch my skin as i stood near the dams in front of the chalet I booked, the place was quite even though they were a few families around.
I wore a bum short and some flat slippers, a loose body top and felt so relaxed wishing Ackim would just walk from behind me that minute.
As the soft wind blew off my hair covering part of my face, I pushed it back to the side and sat in the bench. That night i planned on starting to look for him in Chingola. I gathered he might be around there since he wasnt in Solwezi and George claimed to have seen him there. I was certain the news of his family would make him so happy.
To be continued
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