On my arrival in Zambia, I was not used to the fact that having one of the locals to help around the house or in the 'garden' (outside) was a fact of life. Zambia became independent 8 years before I arrived on the scene, yet I kept getting various people knocking on my front door asking if I could take them on as a 'servant'. I turned them down for the first couple of weeks but then realized that it was a losing battle - it would be a lot simpler if I acceded to the local custom and also helped someone financially (and it was well within my means) at the same time by at least providing them with a steady income. Here I was, a single-guy with not much up-keep required and now I had my own 'house servant', James Masamba!
James was a great guy, turning up faithfully for 2 years to dust my flat, do my laundry, cook my meals and clean up afterward. I was really glad to have James around when I found out that all laundry had to be ironed after it had been sun-dried on the line. This was due to the presence of 'putsi flies' that would lay their eggs in damp clothes. If these clothes were later worn, the eggs would burrow themselves under your skin where a maggot would then incubate until it was ready to break back through to the surface! Once, when thieves stole the laundry off the outdoor line, James launched an investigation via his 'jungle grapevine' and managed to get it all returned! In the end, I was sad to tell James that my time in Luanshya was up and he would have to find another job. It had been great talking to him about what the Zambian people thought and I also got to have some authentic Zambian meals as well!
Waldo was my faithful companion for almost 2 years in Luanshya. The first I saw of him was in a nightime tropical downpour not long after I arrived, whimpering at the door of my ground-level flat on the Zambia Institute of Technology campus. After feeding him, I let him spend the night and the rest was history! I later found out that his name was 'Waldo' and that he was the 'ZIT' dog - he simply picked which of the lecturers he decided would be his next master as the staff at the school came and went according to their contracts.
Waldo was a Poodle Pointer, a hunting breed developed in Germany in 1881 as a cross between a Poodle and an English Pointer. In addition to being great retrievers, they are intelligent and very loyal to their masters. I was very impressed with Waldo since he immediately obeyed my commands and was so well behaved compared to most dogs in Zambia. Waldo was never on a leash, he never barked at people, he would come into my classrooms during lectures and just lay on the floor waiting for me to finish. When I went downtown to do grocery shopping or whatever, he would lie outside the supermarket door patiently waiting as Africans passed by. I think that because he had total freedom at ZIT and interacted with the Zambian students, he had not been conditioned to growl menacingly at Africans as most expatriate 'guard' dogs did.
He was a very fast dog - I used to play a game whereby I would tell him to sit and I would walk down the road until I finally took off at full speed - he would be onto me in seconds! Waldo also did not like the big blue Agama lizards that inhabited this part of Africa and would do anything to get his jaws into them. Another time, he woke me with his barking (which he never did normally) and when I looked out the front windows of the flat, a couple of guys ran off into the night from beside my parked car.
I was very happy to see that, after I met my future wife Susan and my presence in the flat became less, Waldo had no problem switching his affections to Torben!