The changing tides
“Maria come with me we go and deposit the money in the bank” her Indian boss told Maria on a
Friday afternoon.”Of course boss,” she responded stepping down from the long stool she sat on.
Because of her experience with handling cash, Maria was put in charge of the cash till and would
also go to make deposits after sales.
She quickly removed the apron she wore on top of her body top which prevented her clothes from
She sat in the front seat with her boss as he drove to the bank.
So how have you settled down?” He asked her?
“Well, am doing okey thanks for asking. I was really in trouble coping that first week” she laughed
remembering how she had struggled to find a house for rent and her boss had to help find her the
bedsitter she was renting now.
“I told you you will get used here” he told her with a smile.
“Thank you for helping boss” she smiled back.
“I was talking to my fiance and she told me she will be coming back next week. She was asking
about you,” he added looking at Maria.
Maria had met her boss’s fiance who had gone back to their country to prepare for the wedding
ceremony, she was told it would take place in Zambia.
“Well thats good, am grateful she remembers me . Say hi to her for me” she smiled as they
drove to park by the bank.
As Maria was waiting for her boss to come out she felt her phone vibrate and quickly grabbed the
phone to answer it .
“Helo, Maria what was the name of your father? I mean the fulll names” Musonda asked on the
other line. .
“Musonda,” Maria wondered.
“Why are you asking about my father? what happened? ” She asked as she stood aside letting
her boss pass.
“Well I told you I will help you and that’s what am doing, I found the house where that man lives
and I want to go and talk to him” he responded calmly. .
“What?” Maria asked suprised.
“Just give me a moment” she told him and walked to her boss who stood waiting for her.
“am sorry boss can you give me just a few minutes I take this call it’s urgent. I will be right behind
you” she added.
“Okay find me inside” he answered and walked in grabbing the money bag from her hands.
“Musonda what are you talking about? What do you mean you know where the man stays? Have
you been following him?” She asked on the phone. .”Easy my dear Maria, I didn’t follow him per say. I kind of ran into him two days ago and I just had
to see who he was. I didn’t want to tell you this until I was sure.”
“Sure?” Maria asked.
“Yeah sure that the man could be some kind of a relation with you.”
” well what did you find out ?”
“To start with I know the man is an Ex miner he retired last year and he stays with his family in our
neighbourhood. I think two roads from my house. I thought of going to ask him if he knew about
your father but I realised I don’t know your dads name” he added.
Maria scratched her hair anxious, her heart beating faster. .
“I have to go with you Musonda but am still working. Can you wait for me I only have to finish
depositing the money and then we are going back to close the shop” she told him.
“Good then, let me pick you up, am off work already. Say in an hour?” He asked her. .
“That will be okey” Maria agreed cutting the call.
She stood for a couple of seconds taking in what Paul told her and she shook her head walking
inside the bank to finish up what she and her boss went to do.
“So how are you doing with this news?” Musonda asked when Maria sat in the car and he started
the car engine.
“I don’t know Musonda, you know sometimes I feel like I do a lot of running from staff in my life
and this time around am not gonna do that, I need this I think. Knowing the truth about my parents
and probably finding my roots will be a good thing for my life… ” she told him honestly.
Musonda looked at her..
“am glad to hear that my dear Maria, that’s growing up learning to face the fears of your life head
on makes you grow stronger. Sometimes you have to go through harsh patches in your life for
you to discover yourself and become brave and better.”
” well, I feel that too. Maybe If i didn’t move out of Lusaka after I was dumped I could have not
realiaed that” she said sadly..
“You loved him, right ?” Musonda asked her.
She looked at him and back at the road. .
“He is the perfect man I know , he has the biggest heart, he loved me even when I couldn’t love
myself. He’s done things for me more than anybody has ever done before.” She smiled,
” he’s so good I wonder how he even does what he does.” She added.
Musonda looked at the lit face of Maria, and knew she had so much love for this guy. He couldn’t help feel jealousy but pushed the thoughts away.
“Wow, the man is lucky, to have someone who loves him so much. I wonder why someone
decided to break you people apart, and why he didnt stand by you” he added his hands on the
steering and his face ahead.
She smiled slightly,
” well I gues we were not meant to be” she sighed.
” It’s over now and when am done with school next year I plan on going to get my son. I can’t just
let him have my son to himself he’s part of me too” she added. .
“I think we almost there” he announced as he turned on the road ahead of them.
“So do you think it’s possible you can love someone again?” He asked after some seconds of
silence in the car.
She smiled without looking at him.
“Well I hope so… I really hope so. ” she shrugged honestly.
Maria looked around the house, looking at the wire fence surrounding it.
“Am ready” she looked back at Musonda and they both walked out of the car.
“Good afternoon madam,” Musonda greeted the woman who came to open the gate for them.
“Afternoon,” she responded looking at both Maria and Musonda.
“We are looking for the owner of the house, the man,” Musonda spoke up.
“Oh well, come on in he’s my elder brother” she smiled letting them inside the gate as she opened
the it wide open for them to drive in.
“They were ushered in and shown some seats in the wide sitting room, Maria sat down nervously
looking around the room which felt calm and peaceful. There was some familiarity with the scent in
the room. That scent of a home. One with some sort of serenity.
She looked at the cross of Jesus hanging on the wall near the window and a portrait of Mary
knowing that was an indication it was a catholic home .
Maria’s mind wild as she remembered years back when her father asked her to start catechism
lessons. Her father never really went to church but Maria and her siblings were made to go to
Catholic church while her mother continued with pentcoast. .
She recalled how her father always told them he was from a home with strong Catholic faith.
She was lost in thoughts thinking about her parents when the man she had seen before entred the
room and cleared his throat before greeting them.
Maria turned her head and her eyes met the man’s.
“Am fine thank you” she tried to smile.
The man recognise her, ” have we met before?” He asked her with a wrinkle on the face like he was struggling to
remember where from.
Maria smiled again,
” yes sir, I stopped you at church a week ago. ”
“Oh yeah! ” The man exclaimed relaxing in his seat.
“I remember you. How are you my child ” he smiled his facial expressions reminding Maria of her
“Well sir, we came here because this lady here has some few questions to ask you,” Musonda
started looking at Maria.
“Go on dear” he nodded to her to encourage her. Knowing how nervous she was. Maria sat up
and cleared her throat.
“Um am, I came to ask if you know of someone from Lusaka” she’s started stammering….
“From Lusaka ?” the man asked,
“Yes Maria sighed rubbing her fingers as sweet built up and her heart beat so loud she thought
everyone could hear it beating.
“The thing sir is that, am a daughter to Mr Kenny Ngowani and Beatrice Mambo, am the only
surviving relative as my father and mother together with two of my siblings died in a traffic accident
about 10 years ago” she explained as the man listened to her.
At the mention of Kenny Ngowani the man lifted his face and looked at Maria his mouth open.
“What? Did you say Kenny? ” He asked her his eyes wide open.
“Yes that’s my father” she nodded. .
Instead of responded the man stood and walked to the other room and came back holding a photo
In his hands. .
“Is that the man?” He asked giving Maria the photo.
“Yes,” Maria agreed at the first instance she looked at it. Her father and the man took the photo
together, though he looked a bit younger, Maria identified his father.
“So you mean you know my father?” She asked him surprised. .
“My name young lady is Kenny Ngowani. Am speechless right now because that man in that photo
is my son. The son I lost years ago because of some misunderstandings. I named him after
myself” he continued.
Maria looked at the man before her and stood to walk to the window like the air in the room wasn’t
enough any more.
“So all these years you were here and here I was thinking am all alone in this world. ” Maria spoke
as tears started forming in her eyes.
“My child you are my blood, if you are kenny’s child, you are definately my grand daughter and this is shocking news” he added.
Maria looked at him.
“Well, this is really something and honestly I didn’t expect this. I just saw you resembled my father
and now that I know you are my grandfather I really don’t know what to tell you sir ” she shook her
The man smiled sadly..
“oh my child you won’t understand it’s a long story. believe me if I had known you existed I could
have looked for you a long time ago. Look at how you ended up paying for your parent’s sins.
Being all alone in this world at the age you were left I can imagine is never easy”
Maria walked to sit back when the man narrated how it all happened, after she told him her
parents where gone and that she had struggled to reach were she was.
“My son was a good boy, a dreamer of something big.. he wanted to become a Doctor. When he
completed secondary school he was admitted to study with the University of Zambia. After coming
back from his A levels studies, Kenny came to tell me a story about him wanting to marry this girl
As a father I told him he had to wait until he completed his education and later on he could go on
and marry the girl.
Your father thought I was being so hard on him and told me to my face that he could do jobs and
take care of his wife.
My late wife may her soul rest in peace and myself tried all we could to make him reason but he
was so bound to do things his way even after I threatened to stop paying his tuition fees.
We didn’t know that he had made your mother pregnant back then, and according to them your
mother was a strong Pentecostal member and she never wanted people to know she got pregnant
before marriage. She had also just completed secondary school.
Later, Kenny disappeared and we looked for him everywhere. I even paid tuition fees for his
second year in school hoping he would return but he never came back.
As a father I was so disappointed with this behaviour. The time I met him in chingola he was
looking so poor and worked as some casual worker in the mine and when I went to him to try bring
him back home, your father made it clear that he wouldn’t come back to people who didn’t respect
To cut the long story short, the last time I saw your father we had exchanged a lot of words which
am not proud of now. I actually somehow cursed him in my words and the time I heard rumours he
was dead I felt bad that we never had time to renconcile. In fact I came to know of his death 2
years later and had no idea he relocated to Lusaka. ” the man narrate.
Maria was quite listening to her grand father, the news she just heard making her realise that
somehow her misfortunes where engineered by her parent’s past mistakes. “I had no idea you even existed my child thank God you found your way home. I never got to meet
your mother or her parents too. Am so happy you came by” added seriously.
“You are my child and I promise to help you in whatever way I can to better your life. God has
just given me a chance to make amends with what happened with your father.” He smiled holding
Maria in an embrace they both cried. He let her go and sat back down looking at Musonda.
“And you young man, who are you ?” He asked turning his attention to Musonda who was quite
all this time.
“Am Musonda sir, a friend to Maria we stay in the same compound within this township” he
“Well thank you for helping bring my child home. Am really happy right now I don’t know how to
Mr Ngowani called his sister and the other people in the house and introduced Maria, as
Everyone smiled and greeted her, asking her one question after the other.
Maria gave some of the details of her past life and by the time they finished catching up they
realised it was late and Maria told her newly found grand father she would visit them the next day.
he insisted she went over to stay with them. And Maria promised to think over it.
A feel of relief crowed Maria as Musonda drove her back home.
” Thank God you brought me here” she thought to herself.